Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Friday, February 07, 2020

5 Parenting Tips In The Digital Age

Technology has advanced so fast in the last 20 years, putting the world in a digital age that has changed the way many people parent their kids. It was not so long ago that life in this world was so much simpler, less complicated compared to what we have now.  While it is true that there is such a thing as "the generation gap" a term first used in the 60's, when the younger generation seemed to go against everything their parents had previously believed in terms of music, values, governmental and political views as well as cultural tastes, this "gap" is more pronounced in this present generation, among the so called Millennials, or those born between the mid-1980's and early 2000.

Monday, April 09, 2018

#MakeITsafePH - Online Safety For My Pre-Teen And For My Peace of Mind

The widespread use of the internet has given rise to the emergence of internet-related crimes such as rape, theft, bullying and piracy which made the public, especially the youth, very vulnerable. I have a nine year old (soon to be ten) daughter whose online presence is growing day by day. This is something inevitable and so, for my peace of mind and for my daughter's online safety, I have established a set of rules regarding internet usage.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Preemie Diaries: Becoming A Princess At SM Princess Academy

Last Sunday, December 4, 2016, through SM Kids and SM Accessories, the Princess Academy came to the Kingdom of SM City Bacolod. We got an invitation to attend as guest and this will be the first time that Preemie girl will be attending, so you can imagine our excitement!   But with the school intramural just finished, the  on-going practices for her First Holy Communion, and as a full-time working mom nursing a bad cough, I simply had very little time and energy left to prepare. In fact by the end of the working week, I was trying to convince Preemie girl not to attend anymore.  However, unlike in the past where my little girl was not that interested, this time she really wanted to go.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

He Ate Like A Viking!

On my son's (aka Big Brother) 25th birthday...

He ate like a Viking!

A few days before that, I was lucky to be invited together with some blogger friends on the second opening day of Vikings SM City Bacolod and simply did not disappoint. The buffet spread is a gastronomic delight, worth every penny and more!   I thought to myself, my son would love it here!  There was something for everybody, young and old and so, I immediately made reservations for our family to celebrate his 25th birthday here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Our Aging Parents

Aging is an inevitable fact of life, but it does not have to be burdensome or problematic. Just because a person is aged does not make him or her useless. My mother turned 80 years old in May but she continues to live a purposeful life. She has been suffering from osteoarthritis for the last 8 years or so, but it was not until 3 years ago that she began using a walker due to my insistence, primarily for her safety and my peace of mind. Last year, she developed adverse drug reactions resulting in gastrointestinal complications and lately, she gets tired more easily.  And so, as much as she would like to remain as active as she used to be, it is no longer possible and she has "retired" from most of her parish volunteer work and advocacy.  And rightly so because I believe that our elderly parents and relatives deserve to be worry-free, to be taken cared of, and comfortable in the remaining years of their lives. In 2011 I wrote an essay for EzineArticles on how to care for our elderly parents.  I am re-posting it here to remind myself that growing old may be the last challenge in our earthly life, but LOVE will make every struggle, every difficulty and every pain easy to bear and endure.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

All Mothers Are Real

Mother's Day has come and gone, but the day before that a little girl asked me a question that needed an answer.  She asked me, "are you Preemie Girl's real mother?" Now, I don't know why little girls would even think to ask such questions, but I would make a smart guess that they learn about these words and ideas from the adults around them.  I don't think an innocent child would know that there is such a thing as a "real" mom (or dad, for that matter), if they are not made aware of the difference or this was not pointed out to them by...yes, adults. But that is another story.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pretty In Pink

I hate pink.  I would never consciously wear pink except if I really have to.  The very first time I did was during my high school prom and only because I was a junior and pink was our assigned color (blue was for the seniors).  The second and third times were the occasions when I was a wedding sponsor.  I avoided this color like the plague, mainly because I thought that being fair skinned, I did not look pretty in pink. Besides that, I associated the color with sweet and girly things, both of which did not appeal to me.  And so, you can just imagine who, what and why my world suddenly turned all shades of pink!

photo retrieved from

Friday, April 19, 2013

Milestones: My Children's Graduation

My children Big Brother and Preemie Girl had their graduations this year.  Big Brother finished his Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies last October 2012 yet, but he is included in the 2012-2013 annual yearbook since there are no semestral graduations at the University of St. La Salle.  He no longer joined the graduation ceremonies last March because he has started working last January and could not get time off. I am very proud of him and so grateful that God has blessed him with a well paying first job :) And my daughter Preemie Girl?  Well, she also had her culmination ceremony, with a recognition award.......from Kindergarten! Hahaha!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lost Then Found: Watch The Children Carefully!

Have you ever experienced being lost as a child or perhaps, your own child?

When I was a little girl, I got lost not once but twice, or rather my mom lost me. The first time was in the old La Salle Bacolod gym when she brought three year old me to watch the Bayanihan Dance Company. My Mom who was an alumna and student leader of the Philippine Women's University (PWU) was so excited to see familiar faces and teachers, that she promptly "forgot" about me.  There I was standing behind her holding the tickets when a well-meaning usher took me to our seats, so that when my mom turned, I was no longer there.  Did she panic?  You bet she did!  She felt terror in her heart and was near hysteria.  She was about to go up the stage to make an announcement about a lost child when she saw little me sitting comfortably and fanning myself with the tickets.   Lesson No 1 - watch the children carefully!  But it seems that this was easier said than done.  Because it happened again when I was ten years old right in downtown Bacolod.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Kung Fu Panda 2 - A Very Good Adoption Story

I rarely watch TV but the other day while waiting for dinner, I sat down with my son and daughter who was watching Kung Fu Panda 2 on HBO. Although I saw the original movie, this sequel for me is a much better one. The adoption part of the story appealed to me being an adoptive mother of 2 kids, my now 21 year old son and my 4 year old daughter.  Needless to say, I sat through till the end of the movie. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What Kids Can Do On A Hot Summer Day

The weather this past week tells me that summer has arrived albeit a little late.  I was up and about early in spite of the fact that it was Sunday, because of the sweltering heat.  And to add to everyone's discomfort, there were several blackouts ranging from 15 to 30 minutes duration that went on the whole day.  As the day went by, I saw my son getting the inflatable pool out. The fact that he was too big for it did not discourage him from having a cool dip together with my daughter and niece. I was very tempted to join them but as you can see, there isn't much space left...hahahah.  It was a fun thing to do on a really hot summer day.


Saturday, April 07, 2012

On Aloof Girl...

To be or not to be...concerned, worried, bothered, involved on one hand, or indifferent, detached, uninterested, uncaring on the other.  That is the dilemma I face now-a-days with regards to my brother's almost 15 year old daughter.  My brother who is a single parent lives next door with his two kids, a son and a daughter.  The son started college last year and comes home only during breaks while the daughter is still in high school. My brother works in another city four days a week. He goes every Friday afternoon and comes home early Tuesday morning, leaving my niece whom I shall call Aloof Girl with their househelp cum nanny during those days. Her mom usually comes to pick her up on Saturdays unless something comes up and brings her back on Sunday afternoon. Her relationship with us has been good until last year when her brother left. Since her dad and brother weren't around, I would watch out for her and she did not like it. She felt it was enough that her father knew her whereabouts and resented my monitoring of her activities which basically just consisted of being informed where she is going and with whom. She complained to her dad that I was trying to make her into a nun. Imagine that! I told my brother that for a 14 year old, she has been given too much freedom. She always comes home past 6 pm even when her classes end before 5 pm, does not talk much about her friends or activities even when asked, and has been caught a few times telling half-truths. However, my brother believes that he is being a cool, supportive and trusting dad.  I may not agree with his permissiveness but I can see how difficult it is for him to raise his children alone. Recently, she has become reticent, distant and generally uncommunicative towards me and my mom. If Aloof girl resents my intervening in her life as I am not her parent, then she should not run to me when she needs something or wants something to be done.  I should learn to look the other way when it comes to my brother's children. I am not saying I won't make myself available for them when they need me, but I will no longer take it upon myself to feel responsible for and act like a surrogate mom to Aloof girl, especially since she does not appreciate it anyway. Although it was my hope that my mom and I would be positive influences in her life, I now understand that I am not my brother's children's keeper.  I have to rethink my role specifically in Aloof girl's life. I thought because her parents are separated and her mother is not around that she needed a mom.  I took it upon myself to take that role. I realize now that she does not need another mother.  After all, she already has parents, albeit separated but still very much alive and kicking.  When all is said and done, Aloof girl's upbringing is her parents' responsibility, not mine.  Perhaps my role is try to be a friend.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Preemie Girl Goes To School

If only I could hold it off a little bit longer but Preemie girl is turning 4 in July and yes, I know...she needs to start school now. So it's off to summer classes for our little girl, in preparation for the regular school year this June. I enrolled her in our local parochial pre-school which has been putting out graduates who easily get accepted into the first grade of the big schools.

I am hoping that if she does well, she can get accelerated to Prep school by the time she is 5 years old since the government's primary and secondary levels will now be 12 years all in all (K12), as compared to the old curriculum which took only 10 years. That means Preemie girl will graduate from high school at 17 years of age (I was only 15 when I graduated from high school) and if she takes up medicine, that will be another 10 years!.

It's been 2 days now and so far, so good. She seems to be enjoying herself in the 2 hours that she is in class and made friends with another out-going little girl. She is surprisingly very well behaved and even eats her snacks without prompting! Preemie girl is growing up...sniff.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ten Practical Advice For Dormitory Life

It's graduation time once more and many kids in the provinces will be moving to Manila for college. Parents are busy preparing for this move emotionally and financially. Thank God, I did not have to do that as my son chose to go to a university less than 25 kms from our house.  Last year  however, I was asked by my brother to assist my nephew for his move to Ateneo de Manila, where he was going to be enroll as a college freshman.  Why me?  Well, I think it's because I am most familiar with Metro Manila and I continue to come and go for seminars and other work related events.  Like me, my brother also spent his 8 years of schooling there, but for the last 15 years or so, he rarely goes there and he says he does not know how to get around anymore.  So last June 2011, I helped my nephew settle in his student residence outside campus. The whole experience of helping him move was I think, not much different to my own experience in the mid-70's when I went to UST, also in Manila to study.  In fact, I had a strong sense of deja vu...only this time I was no longer the child but in the role of my mother.  Living away from all things familiar and a pampered life, makes a person very appreciative of what they left behind.  I won't write about how to choose a dorm or boarding house, as I'm sure most if not all Manila-bound students have chosen a place to live by now, rather here are my 10 practical advice to help parents and children make a painless transition from living at home to away from home.

Practical Advice No. 1  Make A List/ Checklist
Making lists helped me organize all the essential things my nephew needed for dorm life. I divided the items into categories like dorm room necessities, electronics, clothes, etc...and those we can bring from home or source locally and those we will buy in Manila. I used a computer for this since it was too tiresome writing it down.  This helped us save money on many things like pillows, bed linens, clothes, etc.  The list also was a way to keep an inventory of all the things he had.

Practical Advice No. 2  Open A Bank Account
Open an ATM bank account for easy transfer of funds for allowances and other miscellaneous expenses.  It would also be useful if your child has an e-card (attached to your main credit card) for on-line payments of airline tickets. For easier financial management, dormitory fees can be paid directly by way of PDC's (post-dated checks) good for one year.

Practical Advice No. 3 Make A Budget
It is important that a budget is made so that parents can make a projection of the amount of money they have to prepare for each semester. The budget should include food allowance, dormitory fees including electricity, water and laundry, school expenses like projects, field trips, etc., grocery and toiletries. Other miscellaneous expenses can be requested for and reimbursed when necessary. This will help your child be conscious to live within a budget and avoid unnecessary expenses.

Practical Advice No. 4 Plan An Itinerary
Before leaving, it would be useful to check via the internet (for ex. google maps) the surrounding area where your child will be living and plan an itinerary of places to check out. In my case, I had a daily schedule of where to go and what to do for the 6 and a half days that I was there. It made each day more organized and less tiring.

Practical Advice No. 5  Have A Mini-Conference With Dorm Manager
Aside from the usual contract signing and house rule orientation, ask for a mini-conference with the dorm manager.  Here we were able to talk about safety and curfew, visitors, transportation, laundry, use of kitchen appliances (not allowed) and other related issues.  It is important to ask and clarify all concerns especially if this is not clear or well understood. This also established a good rapport between the dorm staff and myself which facilitated an open and easy communication between us in the coming months.

Practical Advice No. 6 Explore and Identify
Use every available opportunity to familiarize your child with his new environment. Once we arrived at the airport, I began giving him tips on traveling alone and as we were going to his dormitory, I pointed out places that can be used as landmarks. The next few days we walked around the area, checked out the banks near his dorm, the eating places, churches, etc. We also checked out the local transport, the tricycle whose route includes the Ateneo campus. And don't forget the MRT/LRT. It is the fastest way to commute but avoid the rush hours. We went to the nearest malls and visited relatives in the Quezon City area. We also explored the whole length of Katipunan Avenue and found that basically everything can be found here.

Practical Advice No. 7  Make Friends, Establish Contacts
Once settled in, encourage your child to get to know his roommate/s and to make friends with other dormers.  It would be wise also to establish contact with schoolmates who are already studying in Manila.  My nephew and I met up with his seniors in high school a few days after we arrived.  They were only too happy to assist him. As the days went by, we saw other students with their parents coming in and I would start a conversation with them much to my nephew's embarrassment.  Also, meet up with relatives living in the area (Quezon City in our case), know how to go to their houses, get their contact numbers.

Practical Advice No. 8  Create A System/Coordinate with Roommate/s
Living away from home means you have to learn how to take care of yourself. This means taking charge of your meals, laundry, personal belongings, etc. Then there is scheduling the cleaning of the room by housekeeping, trash collection, use of air-conditioners and other electrical appliances in the room, including placing of food in the fridge and pantry. A system should be agreed upon with your roommate/s regarding the use of facilities and common areas/communal items for harmonious living.

Practical Advice No. 9 Know Important Numbers
Keep a list of emergency numbers like the doctor, assigned guardian (my aunt in our case), front desk, dorm manager, security. Provide the dormitory with contact numbers of family and next of kin.

Practical Advice No. 10 Watch Your Back
Better safe than sorry. Don't take unnecessary chances. Those are noteworthy statements that I have tried to inculcate in the minds of my children and my brother's children. Manila is not a safe city and it is up to us to make it safer for our kids. We warn them, teach them to be streetwise, provide them with skills and knowledge but we can only do so much...the rest, we leave up to God.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bound For Greatness

Last week, I wrote about Preemie girl and now it's Big brother's turn. My son whom I raised since he was 5 months old is now 21 and hopefully will be graduating from college this year. Unlike my daughter, I had no behavior issues with him when he was growing up. He was such an obedient child that it was easy to bring him along with me to public places because he was very behaved. It was when he started school that problems started. Although he was a sensitive and intelligent boy, he did not like studying. Unfortunately, I did not have the skill nor the inclination to instill in him good study habits because I too did not like to "study". Therefore, I could not teach him what I did not have, which is weird because I was and still am an avid reader and a life-long learner. It is not the learning part that I hated about school but the process of teaching of what must be learned that was being used by traditional schools. I was the type that needed teachers who knew how to challenge and motivate me. However, unlike my son, I forced myself to study when I needed to even if I found the lessons incomprehensible or was bored to death with the subject matter, while he simply did not care whether he passed or not. This attitude led me to do research on learning styles and learning disabilities as he was growing up. Finding information on multiple intelligence was an eye-opener for me but it seems that in 1995, not many teachers or schools were aware of this or if they were, they did not apply this in their teaching methods and remained very traditional in their evaluation and grading system. And so, my son went through his high school years struggling in all his math subjects but breezing through MAPE, Social Studies and the like. Like any concerned mom, I got him weekend tutors in math and Filipino to check his understanding and skills at the same time to give him some advanced lessons. He passed but clearly, he never quite developed a love for study.

BUT, there were other things that he was very very good at.  For the longest time, it became a habit for me to sing to him nightly while putting him to sleep.  I think I have memorized all the nursery rhymes and cartoon theme songs in the world. I even had a Spanish one.  His birth-mother was tone-deaf and for this reason, I'd like to believe that his musical ability is all because of me.  He first sang during his pre-school culminating activity where he had the role of the prince in Cinderella, and all through his primary grades up to high school, he was the class favorite to compete in the school's annual singing contest.


When he began his intermediate grades I would teach him some simple chords using the Yamaha guitar left to me by my dad.  Before long he was mastering it and was teaching himself to play the harder chords.  I bought him his first guitar soon after, which was upgraded to a more expensive one by the end of his high school.  Today, he is good enough to get invited to play in college acoustic bands.

But it's not all about music for my son. He dabbles in photography, getting more adept at it as time goes by.  He is also an accomplished swimmer, competing in high school intramurals and used to play little league basketball. But his other great passion is Taekwondo.  Although expensive, I enrolled him in lessons when he was 9 years old believing that it would develop discipline and character in him.  I did not know that it was going to be a long-term love affair for him.  He had enough motivation to make it up to Black Belt- First Dan and joined competitions every summer.  He was good enough to make it into the college varsity team and won a silver medal (it should have been gold, but that is another story...) in the senior division of the 2009 NOPSSEA.  He plans to make 2nd Dan this summer.

He is very good with children and when he was 11, he asked to become a god-father to one of his nephews. He is a loyal friend, a loving, caring and protective son, grandson, brother and cousin. He does not abuse his privileges and never asks for his wants, only for his needs.  Except for wishing that he has better grades, there is not much more I can ask for in a son. I continue to pray that he will be a good man, a man that God meant him to be. Although he is far from perfect and continues to be a work in progress, I have no doubt in my mind that my only son is bound for greatness. 

Greatness Starts @Home Blogging Contest

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bringing up Preemie Girl

I used to think that bringing up kids wasn't all that hard. My parents raised us their 3 children (1 girl and 2 boys), fairly and without biases. We all had the same privileges and got the same kind of punishment when we did wrong. I never felt any more special than my 2 brothers. But when I became a mother to a 3 month old baby boy in 1991, I realized that it was not easy at all and that parenting is the hardest job in the world where there is no retirement ever. And so when I took home a 5 month old baby girl (who was born severely premature) for Christmas in 2008, it was an act of faith and trust that this too is God's will for me and my family. You see, raising my son was a relatively fun task for me, maybe because as the eldest in my family and the oldest grandchild, I grew up looking out for my brothers and playing with my cousins, majority of whom were male. I have always been partial to boys, even as a child. I remember each time my mom became pregnant, I would always wish for a brother. Being used to boys, I understood them better than girls. I was worried not so much about the fact that she might have special needs, but that I wasn't too sure that I knew how to handle girls! If I just based my capability on the limited interaction I had with female cousins and my family's not too great experience with adopted or fostered daughters, I probably would have gotten cold feet. On the other hand, I love children regardless of gender and this angelic, fragile and helpless child stole my heart forever. Indeed, time flies because Preemie girl will be 4 years old in July. She is so different from her older brother when he was her fact, she is the exact opposite. While my son was an obedient and quiet child, my daughter asserts herself all the time and could hit the right decibel to cause temporary deafness when she does not get her way. She is hyperactive and needs to be entertained, quite unlike her older brother who used to play with his toys for hours all by himself. She is inquisitive and a quick study, but is such a handful that I could not help but compare her to Big Brother who is now 21 and the only one who can make her obey at first try. He adores her, of course and enjoys being called "dada" instead of the usual term of manong (respectful title for older brothers). And thank God, except for a really fast metabolism and hyperactivity, she is as normal as any child her age. She is smart and adorable. And she can be so sweet when she wants to. She is all girl...loves using pink lip gloss and polish. 

As I write this post, I am inclined to believe that the difference in behavior (aside from genetics, of course) between my 2 kids at that particular age (2-3 years old) is probably because I nurtured each of them a little differently. I had my son when I was a lot younger and with less responsibilities at work, so that I had more energy and time for him. I used to come home for lunch and spend part of the afternoon with him before going back to work. I would put him to sleep and even tutored him. When my daughter came to us, I was at work the whole day, coming home early evening just as she is getting ready for bed. Although she sleeps with me, the time I spent with her is considerably less than the time I used to spend with my son. She spends most of her waking hours with her nanny and since I would bring part of my work home, it was also her nanny who would put her to sleep. Now that I am out of work, I do have more time with her but I have to admit that at my age, an active child is really challenging. We will be putting her in nursery school this summer in preparation for the regular school year this June. I hope by then she learns to sit still, stay quiet and pay attention...otherwise, we are in big trouble.

And Big brother? Well, let me just say that he outgrew the docile behavior by the time he was in grade school...but, that's another story and for another post (big wink).

Monday, December 05, 2011

A Parent's Love

While we were browsing at a bookstore, my son who was a pre-teen then found this little story about a mother and her son, and showed it to me.  It was a touching read but looking at the price, I thought it was too expensive for a children's we put it back.  But I never forgot the story.  As my son grew up, I would remember the story and wish that I bought the book.  Last February, I was tasked to give a talk on "honoring our parents". As I was preparing my slides, I thought about the message of that book and how apt it would be for my talk. However, the only thing I can remember was the story line, the picture on the cover and nothing else. So I started searching on the internet...and many hours later, I found it...Thank God that today everything is in the internet!  The book is "Love me Forever" by Robert Munsch.  Here is a video presentation taken from YouTube.

After my talk, I showed this video and needless to say, there were not a lot of dry eyes left.  That's because this book tells us of what we all experience...and that is the love of a parent, especially that of a mommy.   All of us were once babies, then toddlers, then teens, then adults and parents too and we can all relate to the story.   My son is 21 and I still wait up for him till he gets home. I am middle aged but my elderly mom continues to be protective and supportive of me in everything I do and will be there for me, no matter what.  In fact, one reason why I am sharing about this book today is because I continue to experience my mother's love every day of my life.  She has selflessly given me financial support while I am out of a job, even without my asking. Yet, although she is still very much in control of her life, she is also no longer physically able to do everything by herself.  Seeing this, I try to make life easier for her by doing errands, driving her and anything else she wants done.  And so, having children and an aging mother, I know what this book is all about. It is reminding us that there is no retirement from parenthood. I too will forever be a mom to my kids no matter how old they get.  And as an adult whose mother is beginning to need physical help more and more, it is now time to honor and care for her.  Our parents love us without measure...can we do the same for our parents?

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my Mommy you'll be.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Life Without A Nanny

My little girl's nanny whom we call Tata' asked permission to go for a day off last Tuesday November 1. She never came back. I hate it when they do this...she has been with us since May and although I can sense that she was getting tired of taking care of my active 3 year old daughter, I thought she would at the very least inform me that she was leaving before actually doing it. Oh well. Our 2 other househelp are now taking turns watching my little girl during the day while I take over after dinner to put her to bed. It was different with my son because I was much younger then and he was basically a docile (not exactly true anymore, but that is a different story), obedient child, quietly playing with his toys as long as he can see me within his range of vision. My little girl is different...she is adorable but she needs constant attention, talks incessantly, is very curious and gets easily bored. There is one thing my 2 kids share in common though...both of them won't go to sleep without me. And so, it is now our 7th nanny-less day...and we are all tired! When I say we...that includes me, my mom, my son and 2 househelps. Our routine has been totally disrupted...laundry has to be put on hold...and we have to take turns watching my daughter so that the other house chores can be done. My 21 year old son is the only one she obeys right away and the one in charge of getting her to take a nap. My mom who runs the house is stressed out because nothing seems to get done...she has resorted to buying lunch and dinner, since our cook is also now the laundry woman, while the laundry woman is now the temporary nanny. I can just imagine in other countries how difficult it is for families with little children where there is no househelp. At least in the Philippines, there is still some support system from parents or siblings when they are needed. It is during these times that I really appreciate our loyal and trusted househelp, I have not heard them complain in spite of the disarray.

Looking for a good nanny is difficult now-a-days especially since most of those looking for work would rather go to Manila or are inexperienced. But I don't mind inexperience because for me a good nanny is one who cares and love children, has patience to play and respond to the child. What we get is often someone who really do not have any of those traits but simply needs to work, so that when they get tired, they just leave. My little girl asked me where her yaya (nanny) was and I said she went home...the follow-up question was...where is her home and I said, far away...and my little girl asked sadly..."she left me?". I felt so bad and angry with her nanny. But tonight as I was putting her to sleep, my little girl asked..."Mommy, where is my yaya?" and I said...are you looking for your yaya Tata'? "No", she says, "the new one". "Oh. Okay...she's coming tomorrow".

Yes, we finally found one...Thank you GOD!!!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Another Adoption Story: Lessons From The Animated Movie, Tangled

I bought my little girl the DVD of the animated musical fantasy Tangled a few weeks ago and since then, it was the daily movie staple every afternoon......up until yesterday.  Why the sudden change?  When I bought it, I knew it was a Rapunzel story but I did not know that it was a musical.  Now, my little girl is three and very bright.  As I was trying to explain the relationship of Rapunzel to the witch by saying that the witch was not Rapunzel's real mother, my 3 year old disagreed and kept insisting..."No, she is her mama".  I then realized that in the song "mother knows best", Rapunzel was an adult and my daughter could not relate this young woman to the baby that was kidnapped by the witch. That song showed a loving, concerned mother who wanted to protect her child.  And so to a young mind, theirs was a mother-daughter relationship.  Where is my problem in all these?  You see, my daughter is adopted and when I said that the witch was not the real mama...she asked, "where is her real mama"?  I suddenly saw myself in the witch role!  I know, I is not the same thing but this is a young mind I am talking to.  What if she starts seeing foster/ adoptive moms as witches?  I learned too late that Tangled is rated PG: for brief mild violence (as if a stabbing and death scene can be considered mild violence).  I actually enjoyed the movie...I thought it was funny with great animation but then I'm a grown-up, not a 3 year old.  Aside from thinking adoptive moms might be witches, now my little girl also thinks horses are like dogs.  There is a lot I have to undo here, tsk, tsk.  Lessons learned?  One, always check the movie rating. Two, for little kids who take things literally, stick to the safe, simple cartoons like Dumbo, The Fox and The Hound, Winnie The Pooh.  Third and most important...Keep the ones with complex mother-daughter relationships for later.....much, much later....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another Adoption Story - How I Told My Son

There are many suggested methods on how to tell a child about his adoption.  Based on others and our own family experiences, it is a proven fact that not telling a child about his adoption brought about dire consequences for everyone involved especially if the truth is found out from people other than parents. In the case of my aunt, she found out when she was already 10 years old  from well-intentioned relatives who wanted to help her parents resolve her habitual lying when she got caught doing something she shouldn't, like playing hookey from school, for example. Needless to say that was the start of her years of rebellion.  I heard other "horror" stories so when the time comes, although I never really thought about it, I knew that I will tell my child the truth.  My turn came around the time when my son was around 4 years old when out of the blue while playing in my bed, he reached out to my stomach and said..."I came from here".  My initial reaction was to say, "no sweetie, you came from mommy's heart"...but my son, gave me a look and vehemently said...NO! I came from your tummy! That's when I realized, it would not be as simple as I thought.  So I sat up, faced him and said, "No my love, you did not come from mommy's know what, let me tell you a story..."

"One day, Jesus was walking in heaven's garden and he saw that mommy was sad and alone. And so Jesus was worried and thought, what can he do to make mommy happy?  As Jesus was walking around Heaven, he suddenly had an idea..."I will send mommy a baby to love and make her own...oh, but how can I do this because mommy is not young anymore to have babies in her tummy (well, I was in my early 30's)? I know!, Jesus said, "mama will be the baby carriage, she will carry the baby for mommy!"  Now who among the little baby angels in heaven wants to be mommy's baby?  As Jesus was thinking aloud about this, he saw a little hand waving and was Angel Ramie! he wants to be mommy's baby!  So Jesus asked mama to carry Ramie in her tummy and when it was time to be born, mommy was there to receive her baby and was very happy and grateful to Jesus for giving her Ramie and making her his mommy."   

My little boy's facial expression was beaming...his smile was from ear to ear and that was I think one of the most blessed days in my life.  I could actually feel God's presence in the room while I was telling the story.  After that, all other things were easy to explain.  I think the fact that he knows he came from God made everything else immaterial and unimportant.  My son took things in a matter-of-fact way...he calls my brother "papa", my cousin, "daddy", our mechanic, "tatay" (which is the Pilipino term for dad) and when people asked why he has so many fathers, he would roll his eyes and say..."just because".  He was quite proud of the fact that compared to others he had more than one father.  The down side is that when people asked him why he has 2 mothers...he says " because that one is too old to carry me in her tummy".  Hahahahah!  My son will be 21 in less than a month's time and motherhood has been a rollercoaster ride all the but terrifying at times too.  Thank you Jesus for the gift of motherhood.

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