My 4-yo-Monica’s Vaccine (Booster Shot) Story 🩺🦠💉

It’s been a year since we visited her pedia; thank God she’s been well the whole time. However, I was told she needed booster shots (4in1 and PCV) for her age. Thankfully, Dra. Gellina Ann Suderio – Maala does home visits and is very nice and friendly to kids.❤️

The night before the schedule, I prepped Monica and told her what she should expect — that the injections may or may not hurt and that vaccines are very important. She understood and got excited.😉

To cut it short, Doc Gel came and gave her boosters. No cry no fuss. Big girl na talaga. And she even shared her insights about vaccines. She even wrote about her experience and has been talking about it nonstop.😅

And as per Monica’s words: “Kids should not be scared of vaccines. Virus vaccines make everyone go out.” ❤️

PS: Video, picture, and captions posted have been approved by this little kulit💕0:05 / 0:28

A Mom Interview 2021, Monica 4yo

Copy this note, ask your kid/s the questions and write them down exactly how they respond.

What does mom always say to you? I love you

What makes mom happy? No kalat, me eating fast, me sleeping for 13hrs

What makes mom sad? Hmmmmm when I don’t step on your back?

How does mom make you laugh? Hmmm when you look funny. When you tell games that are silly and when you make funny faces!

What was your mom like as a child? Hmm playing with your friends?

How old is mom? Hmmmm 34?

How tall is mom? Long!

What is mom’s favorite thing to do? Chores! Hugging and kissing me! Being happy. Watching Korean! Jumping at 6th floor! Eating kare-kare, you are a fan of eaters!

What does mom do when you’re not around? Checking your phone

If mom became famous what will it be for? For the movie Din Real Bautista 😳😳🤣🤣

What is mom good at? You’re good at hugging and kissing me

What is mom not very good at? Not good at getting mad

What does mom do for her job? Chores! Taking care of me, looking after me!

What is mom’s favorite food? Kare-kare! Fried chicken! Shrimp! Kimchi!

What makes you proud of mom? When you win at games!

If mom was a cartoon character, who would she be? You are Raya! And Daddy is the Ba and I am Sisu

What do you and mom do together? Hug and kiss each other! Playing whisper whisper! Laughing together!

How are you and mom the same? We are both girls, we have the same faces! We have the same hair! We twin!

How are you and mom different? You have phone and I do not have

How do you know mom loves you? When I was a baby, you carried me just like you love me. You hug and kiss me, take care of me

Where is mom’s favorite place to go? I think 6th floor! Palengke! Mall!

Haha! I super enjoyed asking Monica these questions. Super aliw! I will ask her the exact same questions 5 years from now. Haha! Try it, too!

What A Year Can Do

Around the same time last year, I posted about Monica’s early stages of reading, writing, and spelling on her own. It was really a fun stage, observing her enjoy, discover, and learn things on her own. Yes you read it right — it was all her. All we did was encourage and give the avenue for her to bloom.

A year later, she has already finished reading all her books at home (old and the tons of new books we got her), she has already answered a lot of activities and worksheets and so much more.❤️


I wonder what’s gonna happen next year? This pandemic has definitely altered our ways of living and it’s harder for the kids. But no lockdown can stop a child from learning. Let’s continue playing with them, reading to them, talking to them, and giving them space and chance to discover things on their own.❤️

What’s up?

Hey mama! How’s 2021 doing so far? I hope you guys are good, and if not, hope things will be a bit lighter in the coming days. Just dropping by to ask what you’ve all been up to.

As for me, been really enjoying jump rope. That’s my sanity saver these days! I’ll write about it soon!

Love and light,

Din

Monica the Storyteller

Monica, at 4yo, has written a lot of stories already. She enjoys putting her thoughts in writing — whether in paper or saved in our laptop. I love that her ideas evolve and improve each time. Or probably, I am just being a biased mommy. Haha.
https://www.instagram.com/p/CHSjjg8rp5O/


Anyway, thinking of putting up her own website as early as now — just so we can preserve her “writings” as early as now. 🙂

How are you feeling today?

Happy? Sad? Annoyed? Tired? Angry? Excited?

Asking this question is always a part of Monica’s class and each student is given an opportunity to express what they feel. At first I thought it was just a routine in the school just so kids will be trained to converse. But it’s only recently when I realized and appreciated what it really means. Acknowledging our feelings is very vital especially nowadays. Kids feel different emotions and we should label each one of them. They are free to feel anything and they should be able to express it. This is why I love Monica’s school; it’s not just Monica who learns, but me as well.

And as we acknowledge our kids’ emotions, let us not forget ours, too. Let us not forget to label what we feel and let us not take it as lilipas din naman ito. We feel it as we go through it.

Last Saturday, I got to attend a webinar conducted by Monica’s school in collaboration with Mindwell PH. It was so timely as it discussed Parenting Challenges in the New Normal. I know a lot of us are having a challenging time and as the speaker, Doc Maria Lourdes Medina, mentioned, PARENTAL BURNOUT is real. It is really happening.

Here’s a part of her discussion, credits to GVS photo:

If you feel exhaustion, fatigue, anxiety, depression, frustration among others — then it can be really a sign that you are experiencing Parental Burnout. And when we feel that, it’s just right that we shift our focus and look after ourselves. Doc Lou knows that it’s not easy but she suggested a different way on how we can look at things. She reminded that we should prioritize Self-Care to avoid Parental Burnout.

I cannot agree more on all the points discussed. I kept nodding on each word Doc Lou mentioned. Then I asked myself, how am I really doing these days?

Honest to goodness, I feel okay. Fortunately, I don’t feel the parental burnout yet (hoping I won’t feel it lol). I did a self-check as to why I am doing okay and here’s what I came up with:

  1. I allow bad days. I don’t try to have it good everyday. Whenever I feel bad or annoyed when things don’t go as I wish, I show it. I let it out. Beejay and Monica know this side of me. They, too, are allowed to have bad days as well.
  2. I give time to myself. Whether it is a 5-minute lock out in the bathroom, a few minutes of watering the plants, an hour of workout, late night Kdrama marathon, random social media tinkering, naps, and a lot more. I recognize MYSELF as the first person to think of before anything else.
  3. I never aim to be the perfect parent or to be the coolest and nicest mom. Monica needs a happy mom, not a perfect one. If we keep pushing to be perfect, we will get tired. And the more we get tired, the sooner we’ll give up. We cannot afford to give up.
  4. I don’t intend to raise a perfect kid. Monica is allowed to see us getting mad or sad — she knows emotions like these exist. Therefore, she is allowed to feel mad or sad and even have mistakes, too. She is given time to play and explore on her own. We don’t control. What we have is a routine and that includes her freedom to nourish her interests and likes. I guess this is why Monica has been doing okay as well. Yes, more kulit but so far, no meltdowns, no tantrums.

These are the things that work for me. As cliché as it sounds, I want to say, “it’s okay not to be okay.” We have different circumstances and setup. I may have it easier than others that’s why I can chill, but I hope that telling you to allow bad days will help in making your days a little better. 😚

Sending you love and light even on bad days.

Din♥️

MORE FUN WITH GROLIER’S MORPHUN

Play. Play. Play. Let our kids play all day!

Monica loves to read and write; draw and color — all of those she considers as play. You know why? Because she really enjoys it! She also creates a mess, talks to her Legos and Shopkins and makes a story out of Paw Patrol and My Little Pony toys.

And lately, she has started to enjoy building and creating, too! Since outdoor play is not really doable at the moment, she now focuses her energy on building. Perfect timing because Grolier PH sent her a “toy” called Morphun – a set of building blocks that fosters creativity and independent play and learning! Not only that, it also does the following (got this from http://grolier-asia.com/our-products/morphun/):

  • Develop children’s fine manipulative skills and hand eye co-ordination.
  • Allow children to explore flexibility of form and movement.
  • Develop children’s social, communication, teamwork and ways of working skills by providing opportunities for children to work together in teams and share their ideas.
  • Develop both generic and special problem solving skills.

Sounds amazing, right? It really is! But more than the benefits mentioned above, what I liked about it the most is that, it develops patience and perseverance. Both lifelong skills that I want Monica to have.

At first, she got really intimidated with the blocks as it’s not how the usual blocks look like plus she didn’t really want to follow the building directions. Each Morphun set comes with a guide-book with easy to follow instructions on how to build age-appropriate models. So I let her just freely build whatever she felt like building.

In this photo, Monica built the 4 towers of Jazz Residences with a sun above. This was her first time trying Morphun!

A few weeks after, she tried again and this time, she wanted to build the Fire Engine she saw in the guide-book. I was hesitant to let her because I thought it was too complicated. But good thing she insisted. I saw how determined she was — kept asking me questions on how, asking me to show her, but ultimately doing it all on her own. I saw her get frustrated whenever she gets the wrong block and won’t work with another; and I saw how her face lit up every time she would discover how it should be done, all on her own.

I am getting better, mommy!”

The words I really want to hear. I am so glad I let her and trusted that she can do it on her own. The reward is not really the newly-built Fire Engine, but the confidence she gained after. The next day, things are easier for her and she enjoyed it even more. I love how Morphun can really develop many skills and even values we can carry on. Yes we – because I myself am learning too. I learned to be patient in waiting for her and not to intervene.

Drama ba? Hahahaha. That’s really how I feel about Morphun. Clearly, it’s more fun with Morphun, plus it also grows with them; the older they get, the more complex it becomes.! Haha. I love that Grolier has really evolved over time. It has become really interactive and allows kids to discover on their own. Hey, we still have those Grolier Encyclopedias at home! And it’s good to know that my daughter has her own Grolier products, too, but definitely a better one.

You can check Monica’s videos playing with Morphun here: https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE4MDQ1MjM5MDU5MjU5NTc2?igshid=vsdri6wvzvud&story_media_id=2368013119229216773

To know more about their products, you can send them a message here: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialGrolierPH/

School Set-up in a 27-sqm Home

Adjusting to this “new normal” is very much challenging for all of us, including the young ones. If it’s hard enough for adults, think about the children and how this whole pandemic has affected their socialization, routines, outdoor time, and a lot more.

I am speaking based on our experience. Monica is an only child. We live in a small condo unit. Enrolling her to school at an early age was our way for her to meet friends, be exposed to different cultures, and such. School definitely helped improve her empathy, socialization, and self-expression. This whole community quarantine has greatly affected our immediate plans for her.

What choice do we have? I see a silver lining in all these; it is a way for us to strengthen her foundation at home — that’s where everything starts anyway. This new normal gives us a chance to become more mindful and more present as parents. It also reinforces our partnership with the school to help Monica develop her skills and abilities. Her school is offering 100% online curriculum for this school-year. This means she gets to be in a class with 30 to 45 minutes per session thrice a week. Everything will be purely virtual. And the rest of the time, we learn about practical skills. Why did we still enroll her if I can teach her on my own? I want to, because Monica loves her school and I respect that.

PREPARATION FOR ONLINE SCHOOLING

These are the things that so far worked for us. I understand it’s not the same for everybody — but sharing still in case somebody wants to know.

  1. We enrolled her to an online summer class for a month just to see if she’ll get a hang of it. Luckily, she did and she adjusted well. So my advice if you want to continue formal schooling, go ahead and look for free trial classes and see how your child will respond.
  2. Online schooling requires a “venue” for a child to feel that he/she is in school. Focus matters. In our case since we don’t have a spare room, I make sure to clear a space just for her classes. Then we just revert to the original setup after each class is done.
  3. Inasmuch as I want all her school supplies to be in just one storage, we only have a limited room space. So I made sure she knows where her things are (all within her reach) so she’ll be the one to get and return those. This way, it gives her responsibility in keeping her things together. So far, so good.

OUR HOME AS HER NEW SCHOOL

At first I was really worried on how our setup will be. We don’t have much area so a “study room” is not possible. But then again, I realized why not make our whole space a place for her learning? Since she’s already able to understand and perform small chores, I make sure to involve her. Learning is not only done in school so it’s now the perfect time to teach some life skills while maximizing every corner in our home!

  1. KITCHEN: She helps me prepare the ingredients for a recipe, arrange utensils, and a lot more. During our time in the kitchen, I make sure to engage her in different conversations, which improve instant vocabulary and confidence level enhancement.
  2. LIVING ROOM AND DINING ROOM: Since we have the same space for both, we do activities here together. Her daddy works at home so it teaches her how to respect time and how to focus on one area for play, at least for a certain time. This is why routine and schedule really play a big part.
  3. BATHROOM: I also let her help me do the laundry. It’s all play for her. Yes, it often results to added mess for me to clean, but it yields extra happiness for her. She also knows she needs to wash her hands thoroughly after every bathroom use.
  4. BEDROOM: This is where her toys and books are, so play happens here most of the time. She knows she has to pack away and clean-up on her own every time.
  5. BALCONY: Luckily, we have a small balcony and it’s been our source of “outside world” ever since this whole quarantine started. We started growing plants recently and this experience is giving Monica simple lessons on biology. I get to explain things such as why we should wait, why we should water them, and the like, as she sees development on the plants each day.
  6. Even though she has a small space for physical activities, I think of ways to make it fun. We exercise, jump, or just do silly things together. We may have missed the fun outside but it doesn’t mean we cannot improvise.

My description above feels like we live in a big house, but really, it’s just a 27-sqm. one-bedroom unit. So you see, just because we have a small place does not mean we cannot make it conducive for learning. I love the idea of going to school, but I also love that our home is where she can learn the basic values first — quarantine or not. 🙂

Reading at 3 Years Old

I remember a conversation I had with Beejay 3 years ago, Monica was just less than a year old; “Love, bibili tayo ulit ng books, parang ang dami na?” Beej answered “Love, ‘wag na ‘wag tayong manghihinayang sa books.”

Since then, books became a staple in Monica’s routines; she would choose books over her toys. We read books everyday, no fail. She would point at something and we will tell her what it was. She learned about letters. numbers, shapes, and colors at 1 year and 3 months; with no pressure nor force. Monica was just really interested which made it easy for her to absorb and understand.♥️

So How Did We Enable Monica To Read?

I’ve always believed that reading doesn’t start and end with just plain “reading”. At 2 years old, Monica can already “read” traffic and road signs and that’s good enough for us. We just continued with storytelling, nurturing her interests, and so on without the pressure on making her read early.

When she entered preschool at 3 years old, her interest on letters became more evident; I noticed she can already read sight words but I didn’t really make a big deal out of it because I know that kids learn fast. As days went by, Monica got better with phonics. Credits to her Teacher Lex of Golden Values School because I know she played a big part as Monica will always tell me about school and how she enjoyed making the “letter sounds”.

It was middle of the school year when I confirmed she’s really trying to read on her own; she has gotten better with sight words and she would try to read the words based on how they sound. That’s when we became involved – we practiced and read things together. Until one day, she started reading in sentences all on her own and she would read 5 books every night before she sleeps. What makes it more special? She understands what she reads and she enjoys doing it. It is very important that she’s not only reading but comprehending as well. How do I know? We will talk about the book as soon as she’s done reading it. And voila, she can answer my questions correctly.



Fast forward to these days, she keeps reading and reading – I would give her anything with letters and she would read it. Just recently, she has started reading in Filipino. I was so surprised to witness her reading and finishing the Bahay Kubo book. She is turning 4 years old next month and her reading and comprehension is improving everyday. I can’t be more excited to witness the things she will do and discover.

Alongside her developing reading skills is the improvement on how she writes and spells words. Whatever she reads, she can easily translate into writing. Note that she doesn’t have correct spelling all the time. But we just let her do inventive spelling as it helps her decipher sounds and understand words better. I guess these things work hand in hand because Monica’s vocabulary grows each day.

Tips on How to ENABLE Your Child Read

These tips are based on our experience; I am not in any way a formal educator and I don’t claim to be one. Haha. Just sharing what worked FOR US.😉

  1. DON’T PRESSURE, DON’T FORCE. WHEN THE CHILD IS READY, IT WILL JUST BE EASY. I can’t stress this enough. A lot have been asking me on why and how Monica is able to read already and I keep answering that “because she likes it, that’s why it’s easy for her.”
  2. Make the books accessible. Monica’s books are just within her reach; I guess this is why a day doesn’t go by without reading or holding a book. This helped Monica in getting interested.
  3. Master the phonetics. Monica’s school did a really great job on this. I don’t really teach her at home, I just do some follow-through’s. All her lessons came from school and I think they have a big impact on Monica. If you can’t enroll your kid yet, I guess, you can learn the phonics together. Again, ONLY WHEN YOUR CHILD IS READY.
  4. Practice Most Common Sight Words. This is easy to do, just make sure you don’t overdo it as your kid might get tired of this. Start with simple and rhyming words. Read aloud.
  5. Don’t correct right away. Build your child’s confidence. When Monica doesn’t read some words correctly, I would ask her to repeat and she will figure out on her own. I only correct when she asks me to.
  6. Make reading a fun experience for you and your child. In our case, we maximized different activities to nurture her reading skills. We tried Word Hunt, Match The Words, Color the Word, Reading and Comprehension activities and so on. (Tip: Check @thecrafterteacher on IG for free worksheet printables) 😉
  7. Zero to Less Gadget Use. THIS WORKS FOR US but of course I cannot force this on anyone. Monica has not had any gadget use for over a year now. I noticed that her focus is very good and that she can handle her emotions well. I think this helps in her being interested in reading as her energy gets diverted into learning instead of just watching and playing with a gadget.

More than all these things, what really matters is how your child responds to whatever we teach them. Let’s respect when they are ready; I tell you, when that time comes, everything will be easy.

I hope you find this useful or helpful. On my next blog, I will share about Monica’s progress in writing and spelling. ☺️

Thank you for reading. 😘

Din

Monica’s Recognition Day – ECQ Style 😊

It may not be the Recognition Day that we expected, but it still felt special nevertheless. Congrats to our little girl for finishing her first-ever preschool year with flying colors.

These could have been photos from a legit Recognition Day, but we’re not complaining; this shoot at home will do.

So this is how it is! Nakaka-proud pala talaga. Haha! I know grades and awards should not define a child, but I can’t help being proud. She’s awarded as Star Kid 2nd place, Best in Reading, Best in Number Identification, and was given the Golden Ring award as well! Not only that, her behavioral recognition made me equally happy; Most Thoughtful, Most Cooperative, and Best Teacher’s Helper! Cuuute! That’s my baby!♥️

But more than her awards and recognition; what matters most to us is that she’s happy and enjoys being in school and that she goes along well with her teachers and classmates. That’s the very reason we enrolled her in preschool as early as 3 years old.🥳

Monica showed interest in learning letters, numbers, shapes, and colors at 1 year old – that’s without pressure nor force from our end. And bringing her to school nourished her interest further. Aside from that, she became more social, more expressive, and more emphatic. I really am convinced that half of what Monica is showing now is an influence from her school. 🥰

Thank you GVS for one whole year of being our partner in raising a happy child. Monica would always talk about her teachers and classmates every time I will pick her up and she always gets excited whenever we talk about her school. It was really a good move that we enrolled her there. 🤩

Thank you also for recognizing Monica’s efforts and acknowledging the her strengths both in behavior and academics. Even though we didn’t have a proper recognition day, you still found a way to make it special for the kids and parents.♥️ It may not be on a legit stage, but it sure felt like it and more.🤩♥️