Mothering Monica: Year Two

The newborn and infant stage went by quickly; one day you were rolling over, the next day you are everywhere.

“You can do it, Monica!” “Wow anak!” “What is this?” “Let me video you, anak. Can you say it again?” These are the words I remember saying in the whole toddler stage. Too many milestones, too many moments to cherish and keep in my heart. I may not recall all, but I have ones I’ll keep to my core.

I remember when you first walked, you were confident and fearless. It’s a moment your daddy and I will never forget. We both witnessed it and fortunately, documented it, too. It was a joy to watch you explore, tumble, and got back up on your own.

I remember you going up and down the bed with no help at all. I remember all your movements here and there, under and over. I remember the first time you went down the playground slide alone; my heart skipped a beat because I was too worried you’ll get hurt. But I remember not showing you how scared I was and just cheered you on. I remember the smile you gave me after as if you’re telling me “Mommy, I did it on my own!”

I remember talking to you every hour of the day; describing almost everything we see, hear, and feel. I remember how your words turned into phrases and later on turned into sentences. I remember you playing around with your books and pointing at each object you see. I remember your daddy reading books to you day in day out. I remember when you learned about letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. I remember feeling proud because “wow our daughter is so smart.”

I remember the first time you said “I love you”. It was music to my ears. I remember you enjoying Disney songs your daddy lovingly sang to you.

I remember the first time you used your imagination to play. I remember you choosing cars over dolls. I remember you getting fascinated with anything that moves. I remember you finding joy in watching baby shows.

I remember bringing you to playgrounds – indoor and outdoor. I remember having play dates. I remember you having fun with your “friends” and us parents, having fun, too! I remember meeting up my friends with you in tow. I remember going to the salon with you in a baby carrier. I remember doing everything with you in my arms.

I remember buying so many dresses and shoes for you. I remember spending Php2000 for your pair of shoes and yet spending Php300 for myself seemed a hard decision to make. Lol. I remember getting excited about our matchy clothes. I remember the first moments we went out in twinning outfits and have our photos taken by daddy. I remember our smiles — even if you probably did not understand.

I remember going on trips with you. We never had a helper and it was always just you, daddy, and I whenever we go malling or go to places. I remember bringing almost all our stuff when we went out of town. I remember bringing a bulky bag and a baby carrier each time. I remember bringing you to the grandparents and I remember the joy and smile on their faces. I remember the first jeepney and tricycle ride; the multiple Grab and Uber rides because we didn’t have a car.

I remember working at night after I put you to sleep only for you to wake up and continue sleeping on my lap.

I remember not just the beautiful days but also those that made me scream in exhaustion. I remember being SO SO SO stressed because you never liked eating. I remember being so envious of kids your age eating like a true champion whenever I saw them on social media. I remember trying every method I learned in feeding you; offering every food I came cross with. I remember being hard on myself, blaming myself for raising a picky-eater child. I was so down because all you wanted was to breastfeed from me and not eat anything I wanted you to eat. I remember all those days when I thought I was not doing good enough.

I remember your daddy and I finally getting better at adjusting as a married couple with a kid. I remember appreciating all his efforts instead of competing with him. I remember being resentful on days that I was so tired without acknowledging the long hours he put into his work, too. But I also remember the day when I finally realized that we are both doing our best. I remember praising your daddy for his efforts and I remember him praising me more.

Year Two was all about discovery, milestones, acknowledgements, and lessons. It’s a manifestation of God’s love in letting us witness a life so precious unfold each day. And in just a blink of an eye, Year Three is saying “hi!”

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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.❤️

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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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