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/

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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. 🙂

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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

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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.🤩♥️

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House Quarantine 101

This quarantine season is honestly not so new to us. Since I am a stay-at-home mom, I am with Monica 24/7; the only thing that changed is, she doesn’t have 2.5-hrs in school and we can’t just go outside to go to the mall or park.

I’ve been seeing so many kiddie activities from my mommy friends and I really admire them for the creativity and the will to spend quality time with their child/children. As for me, I don’t really have a set of activities planned out for Monica to be honest. I am not built for that, I dont have the creativity lol. But if I may share, here are the things that keep Monica busy (because these make her happy) and mommy, sane. Haha.😋

▪️PLAY. I let her play all day. Since we are confined in a small condo unit, I allow her to play and make a mess. She can play with any toy she wants. I would often catch her making up stories and characters.

▪️DRAW AND COLOR. Monica’s pencils, crayons, and papers are all on her reach. I don’t give schedules but I would see her stop playing and go to her table to draw and color. All on her own. Most of the time she would draw what happened with her toys during her play (lately, it’s all about Paw Patrol). Or at times, she would draw something about a memorable experience, in our case, the recent travel to Cebu.

▪️WRITE. Another thing that she loves nowadays is to write. This is a sensitive period and a great opportunity to learn (as per teacher nanay Iam). I would ask her to write what’s on her mind, what she wants to do, who her friends are, what our menu for the week is, what color does she like, etc. Inventive spelling on the works and even though words are mispelled, I know that she is learning without force. I can see how much she is willing and how much she can comprehend, and that’s enough for me.

▪️READ. Monica has started reading already, both sight words and phonetics. She would spend time reading her books or even the papers or receipts that she sees at home. She would ask us when she can’t seem to read anymore then will continue reading again.

▪️ WATCH TV. No iPad or cellphone, but she’s allowed to watch TV. She wouldn’t stay glued for a long time though, she will just watch for a few minutes then play. And watch again then play.

▪️CHORES. Let her help in the chores. In the photo above, I let her organize her books. She arranged via size. I had to help her in the end because matatabunan naman kami hahaha!

▪️EAT. Well, she snacks a lot nowadays haha.

▪️ Lots of hugs, kisses, I-love-yous, and argument in between.😛

So what role do I play in all these? I OBSERVE. I will intervene if she wants and if she asks me to. I realize it works better for her when she has control on what she can do. She thinks on her own and acts on it. This way I can do chores and watch my KDrama hehe. #SaTrueLang.

This method has been working well for us. Sharing with you in case you also want to know. Stay safe, happy, and healthy! <3

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“Anak, fight back.” When do we need to say that?

This question has been bugging me the whole day. So let me ask you, when do we urge our kids to fight back and how? I honestly don’t know. I want to raise a kind human being but I don’t want her to be a push-over. It’s so much easier said than done. How do we discern?

I attended a mom and baby event yesterday – kids playing everywhere. It was fun of course. But then, Monica cried twice. Yes twice, different kids but same scenario. Inagawan ng laruan si Monica.

I was just observing as always – I know I am not in the position to meddle. Bata yan, syempre mag-aagawan sila ng laruan. Very normal. But observing how my Monica helplessly cried that time was just heartbreaking. I heard her say “hey that’s mine. Hey, can you please give it back to me? I am still playing.” She kept begging the other kid. Nakakaawa tapos umiyak na sya at lumapit sa akin when she saw me looking at her.

I don’t blame the other kid, what do they know right? Well Monica, as far as I know, never pa nang-agaw ng ganon and never rin naman sya nanakit pag may ginagawang hindi maganda sa kanya. Pero syempre bata sila. Sisishin ko ba yung isang bata? Hindi, diba?

But on the second instance, nangyari ulit. She kept saying “please give it back to me, I am still playing” tapos naiyak na naman at lumapit sa’kin. I told her, “Monica, you already asked them nicely, this time, you get it from them. Get it, it’s yours!” Tama ba ako? Mali ba? I don’t know.

In my mind, I should teach her how to assert herself and that she shouldn’t let others make her cry like that. That she can fight if she must. BUT mabait syang bata. She would rather cry and go to me kesa lumaban or manakit or whatever. Hay.

What do you do, moms, dads? Haha. I honestly don’t know. I want her to fight but I don’t want her to think it’s always good to fight. She’s 3 years old and whatever I teach and show her, she easily absorbs so I am extra careful. I don’t want her to be the kid moms are worried about. Gets?

Am I right? What is the better way to deal with this?

Thanks in advance! <3

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4D Gummy: Play. Create. Eat.

Gummies itself are awesome, both for kids and kids at heart. So imagine if you can be playful, be creative, be imaginative using the gummies and eat them after? Amazing right? That’s why we love @4DGummyPH!

Monica always squeals with delight whenever I hand her 4D blocks and 4D fruits. She gets really excited to play with the gummies. One time she’s building a school, the next she’s building an ambulance. Endless possibilities! What a simple but fun way to develop imagination and creativity! Bonus is that, she can eat them after! What a joy!!

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Monica as Blippi for Halloween 2019

Blippi has been Monica’s next most favorite human being (next to us) for the past two years. He has been instrumental as to why Monica has developed love for construction vehicles and fire trucks. Lol. At first I didn’t understand why Monica got so hooked but because of the countless times I have seen him sing and dance, I finally understood why. So safe to say, Beej and I love Blippi as well!

We never thought of dressing up Monica as Blippi for Halloween but when my good momma friend shared that she got a Blippi costume, I immediately asked if I can borrow even just for photoshoot. She generously said yes and it made Monica the happiest! THANKS ANGGE!!! Labyuuuuu <3

Little Blippi with the favorite, Excavator!

But wait there’s more! This Blippi costume prompted Beej to follow his dream of becoming…… BLIPPI as well. HAHAHAHAHAHA. He DIYed the cap and bought polo, suspenders, jeans, and glasses. Wahahahhaa. SULIT!

The LEGIT twins. HAY. Hahahaha

Ang kulet! But I love! <3

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Happy 3rd Birthday Monica

#DearMonica

Happy 3rd birthday anak!

Celebrating you today and everyday as you’ve been a constant source of joy and pride to your daddy and I. Forever you will be, remember that.

It’s been three years of being with you 24/7. I guess I have taught you a lot of things but you have no idea how much I’ve changed because of what I learned from you.

You taught me how to do multiple things all at once and even though I get tired often, I get things done. All because of you. Because you are the reminder that I have to go on.

I know I lose my cool often and sometimes I forget that you are just a child but you’ve never shown me remorse, instead, you still cling to me and look at me as if I am the only one you need.

Anak, they say I make motherhood look so easy, but they don’t know it’s all you who makes it look and feel that way.♥️

Daddy and I love you so much anak.

Love,
Mommy

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Hassle-free Potty Training

Found this image online. Credits to the owner! mastergolflivestream.com

Monica got potty-trained overnight. Well almost. For real.

Ever since Monica turned 2, I’ve been hearing comments saying that “oh naka-diaper pa rin ba sya? 2yo na ah. Dapat hindi na.” To which I will always answer with “Okay lang, ayoko mastress kami parehas.” My mom was one of those who kept on insisting that 2-year-olds should be potty trained already. I get it, she meant well for sure. Haha. But lagi ko sinasabi kay Mommy na antayin ko na lang maging ready si Monica.

Back in the day, kids get potty-trained pretty early just so they can save on diapers. Ngayon, because of Lazada sale (LOL), hindi namin issue ang Pampers. I’d rather spend than get stressed everyday. #SaTrueLang haha. You all know that we don’t have a helper nor yaya, Beej works almost the whole day, so that only means na ako lahat maglilinis at maglalaba kung ma-wiwi or ma-poops si Monica sa bed or floor diba? In short, I don’t like another chore. Ang convenient ng diaper, especially Pampers, very hiyang si Monica dun, bakit ako magdadagdag ng sakit ng ulo ko diba? Haha. I know my temper, it might get in the way and ma-trauma si Monica. Haha. So I stood firm and did not let the comments pressure me to train her.

So I just kept on waiting, I would tell her “Oh let mommy know if you want to wiwi okay?” or “So here’s where we pee and poop” but never really taught nor trained her. In my mind I know she will do it when she’s ready. Then the morning of April 19, Monica woke up not wanting to wear her diaper anymore. She immediately asked me to remove it and peed in the toilet. She’s 2 years and 9 months then. All of a sudden, she’s almost fully potty trained and it was me who’s left shocked and not ready. As in ako ang hindi ready. I was like, huh are you sure? Nakuu baka magkalat sa bed.

That day, we went to a party and I insisted to put a nappy on. She agreed though hesitant. While she was playing, dancing, she went to me and said she wants to pee. I told her she can pee in her diaper. She said “No mommy, I want to pee in the toilet,” OMG. Okay so I brought her to the toilet and she peed. The night came and I was still worried she will pee in bed so I had to put another nappy. The next day, she woke up with a dry nappy, no trace of pee and then she went to the bathroom and peed in her potty trainer (a gift given by my mom looooong time ago).

That’s the second day, totally diaper-free the whole day. On the 3rd day, I bravely decided not to put on diapers. She peed in bed around 12mn – I was like, okay not so bad. Not bad at all. On the fourth day, she said she wanted to poop and there she went, pooped in the toilet!

That day I decided to bring her to the mall, just the two of us. I wanted to see how it will go kung wala syang diaper. I brought a nappy with me in case need arises. Haha. So in the middle of fitting clothes, window shopping, twice sya nagsabi na maiihi sya. Yun ang stressful part – yung feel na feel mo na magsukat at bumili pero kailangan nyo maghanap ng CR! Kaloka. Pero to cut it short, it was a success! Whew. Good job anak!

Then for two weeks, I will wake up around 12:00-12:30 am just so I can bring her to the toilet. For two weeks, there’s a hit and miss and that’s normal. Puyat nga lang ako but then after two weeks of her being nappy-free, she learned how to control her bladder, it got more stabilized as days passed by.

So what did I do? NOTHING. See, wala akong ginawa, I just waited for her to be ready. That’s it. She did it all on her own. She even goes to her potty trainer and pee, she will wash her hands after, and wear her panty – again, sya lang mag-isa without me teaching her.

What makes me so happy is that we didn’t have to be stressed about it. We didn’t even have to buy fancy potty-training tools to entice her. If I wanted it my way, I could have forced her and that will probably leave her traumatized or worse, will hold her pee and that’s not okay! It really pays to wait for your child when he or she will be ready. Kids have their own pace and we all should consider and respect that. It will save us some stress and trouble.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to wait for the kids to be ready. They know better and if we do it that way, it will be easier. It will also make them confident and feel that they have autonomy over their body and their feelings. Who would want to be forced anyway, right? I have nothing against parents who want to potty-train early – that’s perfectly okay. It’s just that, in our case, the other way worked just fine.

Here are the things that we’ve been doing now that she’s nappy-free already:

  1. I time her liquid intake, usually she will pee after an hour (at least on the first weeks). So I make sure I time it and remind her if she wants to pee. Normally I do this but at times, she will tell me when she wants to pee or poo. Nowadays, she can control her bladder already and pee every 3-4hrs, except pag nag-buko juice! Haha
  2. At first, I joined her in peeing and made the pee sound. But now when she wants to go to the CR on her own, I let her. I just remind her to be careful especially when floor is wet.
  3. I affirm her, I validate her actions. Her face lights up when I do that. It’s such a feat for them and they deserve such recognition!
  4. Try going out without a nappy on, it will test the both of you. Don’t be scared. I swear. Only then you will both know what to do next. We traveled to and from Batangas via bus, without nappy on. Imagine my stress but then again, I trusted her and pull it through. No wiwi accidents! Hahaha

To this day, June 14, almost 3 months of zero diaper, and I can say things are so much better. We only had less than 10 accidents total and it’s all because we let Monica take her own sweet time. <3

What is your potty-training story? I hope our story helps! 🙂

Love,

Mommy Din

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