When I woke up this morning I secretly wished it would be just like Saturday – the kids and I had a good time at breakfast, started devotions by a little after 9 and we were done with 3 subjects by before noon. Kristo had a happy heart and he was excited to work on his math and grammar drills even if it was a Saturday. He was so happy with how things went he even said “My brain feels so energized!” — Oh how I wish everyday was like that particular Saturday!
But then again, maybe not.
Today we all woke up half an hour later than usual, so we did our devotions while having breakfast to make up for that half hour. I reminded Kristo of how awesome Saturday was, hoping to encourage him to do his best in all his activities today so we’d be done by noon. I showed him the list of what we’re supposed to accomplish today and he chose to take his Science Quiz first. Wow. Okay.
I gave him 20 minute to work on this 15 item quiz. I’d look at him every now and then and I just felt that something was off, that his heart was heavy. Knowing him, the test wasn’t the problem – it was his heart, his attitude. I somehow knew that he’d hand over his test paper with just three or four items answered — and yup, I was right! I must admit to you that I was hurt, then I was worried and right before that feeling of disappointment set in I stopped myself, took a deep breath and sat him down on the couch. I asked him what the problem was. He said he doesn’t understand what’s going on in his heart. He agreed that something was off and he didn’t know what to do with it.
This isn’t something new for us. There would be times when he’d be great in the morning, all jolly and happy then by after lunch he’d be grumpy and upset as he finishes his work. I used to get all worked up about it coz I just couldn’t understand that shift in his moods. Lately though we’ve tried something else – and it’s the only thing that has helped us big time.
I told Kristo to go to his room, read his Bible and spend time talking to God. I encouraged him to ask God to help him change the condition of his heart because only God can help him do that. I also needed time to talk to God. I needed help big time.
When I went into Kristo’s room I asked him how he was. He said he just needed to spend 5 more minutes alone. He was on his bed and he had his Bible by his pillow. Sure enough, 5 minutes later he came out all happy and lighthearted. He said he was a lot better and he was ready to study again.
We didn’t finish by noon like I hoped we would. In fact, we were studying til 5 in the afternoon! We were pretty much drained after that last mental math activity (hello! Subtracting in the hundreds mentally! Eeeep!) But I wouldn’t trade today for a day like Saturday after all `coz yeah, today was filled with lots of challenges but it also gave us lots of opportunities to really ask God to help us and Kristo got to experience how God works first hand.
A lot of times we think studying is all about the brain, but what use is a brain full of information if the heart isn’t right? This is one of the things I love about homeschooling Kristo – we have the freedom to stop whatever we’re doing to get the heart right then everything else will follow and learning becomes a way of life rather than an obligation.
Oh yeah, and then there’s that “you’re the best mom!” line right after you make him do 4 pages of mental math (yes, in the hundreds!!!) plus that one time I told him off for goofing around in the middle of doing his math drills. That’s a pretty good sign, right?
I MUST give you an update! If you read my last blog about our kids’ crazy bedtime — I have GREAT news!!!
All week (drumroll please!) — both our kids slept early, and by early I mean 8pm for Audrey who is 14 months old and 9/10pm for Kristo, our 8 year old! That’s a HUGE DEAL because I used to think they were ‘naturally’ nocturnal little earthlings. I have been proven wrong. Ouch.
So what I’ve read in those baby books are for real after all. These little precious ones CAN be sleep trained!
For Audrey we created the illusion that it’s already around 2 or 3 am (her OLD -wooohooo!- bedtime) by switching off the tv and lights. Tadaaaa! It’s bedtime for all of us baby! See? Quiet house. Everybody, shhhhhhhhh!!!! AND IT WORKED!
For Kristo, all he needed was that eye mask/cover/thingy. You know, the one they give out on planes when you go on loooooong flights. He said it left him with no choice but to close his eyes and fall asleep!
I also gave both of them chamomile drops (absolutely all natural, yes, from our doctor, donchaworry!). Every 2 hours for the first two days then every 4 hours from the 3rd day onwards for about 2-4 weeks. I call it our magic potion!
Since they’ve been sleeping early, we’ve been waking up way earlier too (between 8-9am!). Kristo says he feels great and Audrey looks so well rested! Yey! We also get homeschool done way earlier so Kristo has more play time!
I thought it was gonna be a long, tedious, challenging, ultra mega tough ordeal BUT it was far from it. Audrey only made a fuss on night #1. The next night I was ready for battle again but she didn’t show any signs of wanting to play in the middle of the night (like she used to). All she needed was a bit of milk and she was on her way back to lala land. Wow. That was it?!
I’ve just proven that kids really do crave for structure, routine and our leadership. We set the pace for them. We have that power…and with it comes great responsibility…so we must use it wisely.
Our family’s sleeping schedule has been pretty crazy from day 1 and it got even crazier when we welcomed our baby girl home a little over a year ago.
Before I gave birth I had this beautiful picture in my head of finally having a solid routine for me and the kids. I mean, how hard was it to program a baby’s day, right?! AND if we nailed that then it would be pretty easy enough for my son and I to ride along that ‘on schedule’ daily grind train, right?!
NOPE. WRONG. NOT EASY. Hello?! What went wrong? Why didn’t that awesome game plan work?!
Simple. When it got challenging to ‘stay on schedule’ and be firm about the day’s routine, I quit. I just said “we don’t need this kind of stress putting the kids to sleep. Instead of battling it out every night, can’t we just enjoy our time together as a family….(at 2 or 3 am)..’til they’re finally tired enough to sleep?” As I was typing that line I felt like a total hippie stuck in the 70′s.
So for months I guess you could say I was a hippie mom. There were several days when I’d be firm about our 8 year old son’s bedtime, but then he’d see his 1 year old sister still playing at 1or 2 am. Not good at all, I know. What’s worse is we’ve been waking up at noon or even around 2pm! Half our day gone down the drain This whole sleeping-waking up situation was getting out of hand. Things needed to change and it had to start with…me. gulp
If I want our kids to grow properly (growth hormones are released around 9pm til sunrise, according to our doctor), I need to be firm and get them in bed by 8-9pm and get up early in the morning to enjoy Mr. Sun!
Tonight was day 1 dear reader. I am happy to say that by 11 the kids were sound asleep! The tv was switched off, we said our bedtime prayer as a family, we sent our son to his room, my husband and I made it obvious we were sleepy too, I nursed our baby girl and I’m pretty sure we fell asleep before she did. I guess when she saw that there was no one to play with, she gave in and just slept. WHEW.
Too good to be true, I thought. I’m pretty sure she’s gonna wake up again when she sees that her dad is up and in the living room rehearsing a few songs for work this week. She’s gonna want to be part of that and play as well. She’s gonna fight a good fight and scream and cry. I was totally psyching myself. I was also coming up with my own battle plan. Then it happened. A little before 1am she woke up, got all excited when she saw her dad wasn’t in bed, then she tried to get out of bed but I made it pretty clear that tonight she wasn’t going anywhere but lala land. She cried and screamed and cried some more. Sorry neighbors. We gotta do what we gotta do. 5 mins later, when I felt it was ‘safe’ to nurse her, I cradled her in my arms and kissed her goodnight, she started feeding and that was the end of tonight’s battle. Half an hour later she was sound asleep. Whew.
It’s 2:17am. The kids are sound asleep. Soon I’ll be on my way to meet them in the land of Zzzzzzzzs too. This seems too good to be true but we want this kind of good for our kids, so I’m choosing to believe that this is gonna be what’s normal for us from now on.
Goodbye hippie mom.
About a year before Rommel and I casually bumped into each other at a gig and started dating, I wrote a really long list of what I prayed and hoped my husband would be like.
No matter how funny or trivial or serious or crazy it was – I wrote it on that list! I ended up writing a 6 page list! 104 items folks!
Now if you don’t know our story, let me tell you how it happened (really fast!). We bumped into each other on a Thursday, he got my number that night and we agreed to meet up for coffee…soon. By soon he meant that Monday! He picked me up for coffee and dinner and by the time we were having dessert, we both knew that this was it! It was like finding that super important puzzle piece that’s been missing for ages! And…..we became a couple that night! It was so surreal…yet so…real. EIGHTEEN days — yes, 18 DAYS later — Rommel got on one knee and asked me to marry him. Nine months later we got married… twice in one week!
Next week, Rommel and I are celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary! Yey! So a couple of nights ago I dug up my list, ticked off a few more items and showed it to him for the very first time! We were both so amazed at how it perfectly describes him. (I had forgotten a number of items on that list! Last time I checked it was probably a year ago!) I asked if I could finally share that list with everyone else and he said YES…. so here goes! It starts off with a letter I wrote to God
The whole day I’ve been really led to write down this list. I acknowledge that a lot has changed, for you have changed me, even my desires and priorities in a relationship. Father, I trust that the qualities I will write down are from you. That you won’t send anyone less than this. Than even though the list may seem impossible, it isn’t for you, coz you make all things possible. May this list also help me decide who the one you’ve chosen for me is. Father, I humbly submit this list to you. Thank you for my husband Lord, in Jesus’ name I pray amen.
- He must love You more than anyone or anything
- He listens to you
- He shows his obedience to you
- He prioritizes you
- He follows your lead
- He must love spending time with You, knowing You
- He must be able to share what you are teaching/revealing to him
- He must have a heart to sincerely reach out to those who need You
- He must acknowledge that you and your Word are the final authority in his life.
- He must be willing to take leaps of faith!
- He must be a really good friend more than anything!
- There must be favor from Kristo (my son)
- There must be favor towards Kristo (my son)
- He must honor his parents and siblings
- There must be a blessing from his family and mine
- He must love music
- loves rock
- loves old tunes
- loves sentimental tunes
- loves dance-y tunes
- He must have an open mind about music
- He must have good taste in music
- Dancer or at least loves to dance
- Knows how to cook or at least would like to learn
- Loves going to the grocery and can spend hours there
- Loves art
- Does not care about my past; cares more about the NOW in my life
- Loves to drive and is willing to pick me up and drive me places
- Loves to read
- On time/Doesn’t like being late
- Uncomplicated –> SOMEONE SIMPLE!
- Enjoys simple joys
- Someone I can laugh hard with
- Someone who’s willing to ballroom dance with me/take lessons
- Someone to teach me a sport/play a sport with
- Someone who appreciates my singing
- Someone with really nice hair
- NICE ARMS
- Taller than me
- Darker than me
- Someone easy to feed!
- Someone I can share clothes with
- Someone who isn’t shy/bothered to go into girls’ clothes stores
- MUST LOVE COFFEE!!!
- Someone I can talk to for hours about anything and everything
- Someone who can teach me not to be scared of dogs anymore
- Favor from friends
- From the same church I go to
- Willing to watch chick flicks
- Someone I can walk/dance/play in the rain with
- Someone who can fix my hair
- Someone really smart
- Someone I can make music with
- Someone I can work with
- Really cool fashion sense
- Someone who appreciates architecture
- Loves to travel
- Super funny/awesome sense of humor
- Wise/full of wisdom
- Can blend in and stand out wherever you go
- Likes going to the mall
- Won’t be tired to watch a move over and over and over
- Someone who likes putting his arm around me (you know, akbay)
- Someone who likes hugs and holding hands
- Someone who likes weird food combinations
- Texts back/replies to texts
- Someone I can be quiet with for hours and still be okay
- Has integrity
- Someone who is’t bothered to ask for directions when lost
- Someone I can spend time with coloring a book
- Someone who likes watching the sunset
- Someone who likes looking at the stars
- Someone who likes burgers and salad and pasta!
- Someone who likes surprises
- Someone’s who been to at least 2 different countries and has stayed there for a t least 2-3 months
- Someone I can pray with
- Someone patient in giving road directions
- Someone willing to define words when I ask
- Someone who’ll challenge me to be a better person
- Someone who wants a housewife for a wife
- Makes an effort to get along with my family
- He will talk to my son’s father about his intentions for me (He called my son’s father a week after we became a couple!)
- Loves kids
- He’d rather live and start out in our own small room than live with our families
- Doesn’t mind getting a tan
- Someone who can give a mean massage
- Good balance of fun and seriousness
- Plans ahead but is spontaneous too
- Knows how to make coffee I would love. (If you know me, I love making coffee and I rarely let anyone make coffee for me but for the past few months, I’ve stopped brewing my own coffee! I wait for Rommel to put on a pot because…I LOVE the coffee he makes! And trust me, that’s HUGE!)
Those are all the items that have been ticked off! Only 10 more items left un-ticked and I realized that those 10 aren’t really than important! Amazing right?
I’ve always believed that God specifically made someone for me, and I was specifically made for that someone. (May I just add that according to my husband, he’s always wanted to marry a Eurasian. Ehem. Ehem.)
Getting to know my husband more each day, plus looking at this list, just proves that what I’ve believed for the longest time is so true.
So if you are waiting for Mr. Right, or seeking Ms. Right, I hope this post has encouraged you to believe that someone was specifically made for you — and that you have been specifically made for that someone.
Oh, and to Rommel, my absolutely amazing husband and best friend, thank you for being my dream guy and more! Happy 2nd anniversary my love!!! Mahal na mahal na mahal kita!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
As parents, we’re always on the lookout for awesome finds for our kiddie winkles. One of my greatest ‘finds’ is our pediatrician, Dr. Cricket Palanca-Chen. Kristo, my seven year old, was already 4 and a half or 5 years old when our friends told us about her. Kristo had been suffering from a series of tummy aches and his tummy was huge (and no, it wasn’t even a fat belly!). We went to two hospitals, he was given meds but his tummy was still pretty big and it still hurt.
On that first visit Dr. Cricket asked all about his diet. She had us eliminate milk and gave us a few homeopathic remedies which are normally based on natural ingredients. (For more info http://abchomeopathy.com/homeopathy.htm ).
Within days we saw a huge improvement — it was just gas because he was drinking too much milk for his age! (maximum is 2 glasses from 2 years old onward because our tummy can’t handle more than that.) We returned a few months later because Kristo had a fever that was on its 3rd day. Instead of asking us to get tests done right away, she had me wait it out for another 2 days and had us take another homeopathic remedy. She said she wasn’t worried because she pointed put how Kristo was playing with the toys in her clinic. If it were something serious, he wouldn’t be able to play the way he did. True enough, fever was gone the next day.
Dr. Cricket Palanca-Chen practices both conventional and natural medicine. It’s exactly what I was looking for `coz I grew up not taking meds as soon as I get a cold or a fever. Dad was a firm believer in letting the body heal naturally and I wanted that for my kids too and yey, I finally found a pediatrician who doesn’t give me a drug prescription just because my child has a runny nose!
I was pleasantly surprised to find an article on going natural in the October issue of Smart Parenting. It was an interview with Dr. Cricket. I’m glad I saw this article coz she’s discussed a number of these items with us but I wasn’t able to take note of it. Anyway, if you weren’t able to read that issue, here are a few things we need to remember:
- Don’t give your child cough suppressants. Give him something to expectorate phlegm. Even if he swallows it, his body will get rid of it as waste.
- If the cough comes with fever, then it is an infection and would require medicine.
- Cough is bacterial if there’s high-grade fever that lasts for more than three to five days. The child doesn’t eat as much and only wants to sleep.
- Cough is viral if fever usually lasts only three to five days and child starts to get better on his own by the third day. Viral infections are very self-limited. You can wait them out without having to take medicines – the antibiotics will not help.
- Fever is your body’s way of killing germs inside the body. It is not the enemy. Your body increases its thermostat to fry the germs and prevent them from multiplying. If you kill the fever, bacteria would multiply and the illness would be prolonged because your body’s defense mechanism is down. But if the fever is high, give paracetamol because there’s the danger of having convulsions. To bring the fever down, give sponge baths or food that’s cooling.
- When your child has a cold, he has so much cold energy or lamig in his body. Anything warming is helpful, such as steaming, wrapping a scarf or blanket around him (yup, we do this!), applying a cold rub like Vicks on the throat area to increase blood circulation. Also feed your child warming food like hot soup with garlic, onion and ginger. Don’t give him milk; it increases phlegm, makes the mucus stickier and makes the throat more painful. Don’t give him sugary food too, because they form puss in the throat.
Hope those tips help you as much as it’s been helping me. If you’d like to set an appointment with Dr. Cricket Palanca-Chen, she holds clinic at Room
539 Medical Arts Building St. Lukes Medical Center Global City and Medical Plaza Makati. Here’s her assistant’s number: (0927) 987 7079
There are three other great things I love about her which you might want to know.
- She’s a breastfeeding advocate (we skipped one immunization coz I exclusively breastfeed and that was just as good as that particular vaccine!).
- She replies to text messages EVEN IF your question is super simple!!!
- AND she has super cool and funky shoes — now that makes our pedia visits even better, don’t you think?
On our way to my mum’s a few months ago, our cab driver asked where our son goes to school. I told him that Kristo is home-schooled. His reaction: “Anong mapapala nyan?!” (What’s he gonna benefit from that?!) Ouch. Really? Wow.
I can’t blame him and many others who still think that families that choose to homeschool are either making a huge mistake or are simply weird. The norm has always been to send kids to traditional schools. Let the teachers do all the teaching during the day and then review and help them with their homework when they get home. That’s was what life was like for me and my husband — and most probably, for you too dear reader. We turned out pretty okay, right? So why choose to do something different? Why not If we see it’ll work best for our kids and our family, why not, I say
Let me tell you a story, which hopefully gives you a good picture of the beauty of homeschool:
Last week while Kristo and I were working on an activity in his Language book, I saw his facial reaction jump from being super happy with what he’s accomplished to scared and defeated in a matter of seconds. I suddenly saw his wall go up. Way up! As his mom and teacher, I knew I couldn’t proceed to the next activity while that wall was up. Lesson stops because the heart needs to be addressed. (That’s something I learned from one of the talks I attended arranged by The Master’s Academy Homeschool where we’re enrolled. Yes, we’re not doing this on our own ).
Kristo saw that he had to write quite a number of sentences for the next activity. You see, Kristo doesn’t like to write (and that’s an understatement). He doesn’t see the need for it since there are computers anyway (his words, not mine). So we’ve shown him different instances when writing is needed. He’s getting there, slowly but surely! (Did you know that boys’ motor skills develop slower than girls’? So imagine what it’s like in a co-ed class — the girls usually finish writing faster than the boys and some of the boys whose motor skills aren’t fully developed yet get left behind and most of the times, made fun of .)
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, Kristo had his wall up as soon as he saw what he had to do. So I told him what was happening. I asked him to close his eyes and visualize that wall he has up on his heart and mind. I had him picture soldiers or warriors bearing information, lessons, stuff that would help him but they can’t get in because his walls are up.
He then said “well, they can always use a tank!” — and what perfect answer because I used that to symbolize me getting irritated and us eventually arguing (yes, that’s pretty normal too, ask any homeschooling family) when he seems to be listening but isn’t really listening at all.
“Do you like that? Do you like how the tank is tearing down the wall?” I asked. He said no. I told him that only he could make that wall go down, that special switch is in his head. All he has to do is make that decision “wall down!”. He then did something I didn’t see coming. He asked if I could give him a few minutes to talk to his heart and his brain and talk to God too. A few minutes later he was a happy trooper ready for the challenge and he wrote each sentence like a winner!
In homeschool, we get to study at his own pace. We breeze through some subjects he really finds interesting and easy (he usually asks that we read a lesson from his world history book as a bedtime story!) but we take as much time as we need when it comes to other subjects.
If he doesn’t understand a lesson, he has that freedom to say “I don’t get it” and he gets to ask as many (and I mean MANY) questions as he wants — thank God there’s google! When I see he’s not really into the lesson, I try to look for a video on youtube that’s related to the topic — and that instantly picks the mood up too!
I always remind Kristo (and myself) that the goal is to learn, genuinely learn, because learned is cool.
When he’s answering an activity or a test I get to watch how he answers it most of the time. I know when he’s guessing and I know when he’s really thinking. Mid-test I usually stop him and remind him that I’d rather he tell me he doesn’t understand the question (or lesson) rather than guess the answer and be done with it.
I know he’ll learn loads too in school, like we all did, right? I get that. BUT because we home school, we can always go the extra mile (forward or back). That alone is such a huge benefit, don’t you think?
Learning has become a lifestyle for our family. Kristo and I have learned so many new things together and we usually end up super excited to share that information with his papa!
Homeschooling has definitely brought our family even closer AND because we’ve already got a communication line open and active, he tells us what he learns from his friends and asks us if what he learned is true, if it’s good or if it’s bad. He knows he can tell us and ask us anything.
Now, I’ve had a few friends ask if homeschooling easy. My answer has always been NO, but is it worth it? YES. ABSOLUTELY.
Before Kristo went to bed tonight we looked at different paintings in his art manual. He hugged me and said “I like this and I like spending time with you.” I asked if he liked homeschool. He had a big smile on his face and hugged me again and said “Yes!”
`nuff said, yeah? *happy mommy dance*
Kristo made my eyes sweat (a bit) today….
When you’re a homeschool mom (or dad), there are days when you’re at wits end, then there are days when it’s so obvious that homeschooling is one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. Today was one of those amazing days!
For Bible and Character, Kristo and I talked about how God doesn’t look at what man usually does — the external. Rather, God looks at the heart. I told him about the story of King Saul, Samuel and King David.
After the Bible story Kristo stood up and went up to his papa and said “I know the lesson of the story! If you have a clean and obedient heart, God will choose you. If you have a dirty heart and surrender and say to the Lord “Take my life and help me God” He will say “Come my child.” then he will help you.
Just hearing that made me cry a bit. Kristo gets it! HE GETS IT!
As soon as he saw me, he hugged me. I am so glad that his papa and I have front row seats to moments like this. Learning time suddenly becomes a wonderful family memory.
See, this is what I love about homeschool, it isn’t all just about academics. More than that it’s discipleship and really training your child’s heart.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. — Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)