motherhood, personal

Joreb Starts School

Joreb, my four year old, is officially a nursery student though he had already learned his alphabet, his first hundred numbers, colors, shapes, and more since he was two and a half to three years old. He can read one-syllable words and have memorized word for word at least two of his books. These books are not ten-pagers or less, either. These books are over twenty pages. He could also speak English, Bicol and Tagalog. We made sure that he learned his Tagalog first, especially since Filipino was one of my worst subjects in elementary school (along with Physical Education and Home Economics).

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He cried the first day of school. I also did. I cried because I was not given the opportunity to bring him right into class. I had to helplessly stay inside the cab while my son, accompanied by my mom and the nanny, entered the gates to his school because I had to head on to work. I had to attend to my 7 am class as a college instructor.

Joreb did not just cry, according to those who witnessed it. He actually threw a tantrum. He kicked the doors of his classroom and was difficult to contain during the flag ceremony. From then on, I knew that he would be easily remembered in school. He was the only one in class, apparently, with such a hot temper.

The second day went off a little better and he was ever his most enthusiastic self. He cried again the day after Independence Day – a little break – because he thought there weren’t any other boys in class, and was only appeased by the sight of two boy classmates.

Friday came too soon for him, though. When told that there would be no classes tomorrow, Saturday, he replied with a “Bakit ganun?” (Why is that?)

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childhood, motherhood, personal

Votes, Pledges and Little Kids

When I was a little kid, I was painfully shy. Well, I still am, but I could at least manage it better now. I could even go crazy with my closest friends – in a geeky way of course, because I don’t drink, smoke or party. When I was little, however, my mom signed me up for things that I felt I was not quite built for. For example, I was a majorette in fourth grade but I had two left feet. The teacher who was head of the Drum and Melodica Corps in my elementary school was frequently frustrated with me. I did not really want to be there in the first place, I wanted to protest, but held my tongue as usual.

below: (me, at age 7 with my brother Richard, at age 4)

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One of the most unforgettable experiences I had when I was small happened when I was six years old and was part of a group of children who were to dress up as angels during Easter Sunday as part of the “Salubong” tradition. The Salubong is basically a reenactment of the Resurrection with Mother Mary, angels and the rest meeting the Risen Christ as a new day rises.

There was a lot of fundraising going on for the church. The boy and girl with the most money raised will be the ones to play the most major angel roles during the early dawn of Easter Sunday. They will be held by ropes by the waists and will sort of fly around.

My family could barely find people who were willing to give donations. So, of course, I ended up as one of the singing angels on the sidelines. It was actually fine with me because I did not really want to end up raised high above with a possibly uncomfortable rope around my waist. I understand now, however, how parents and children really value the very concept of winning and not really the prize. Knowing that a lot of people support you is also a good thing. The kids, though uncomfortable, were the centers of attention. They reveled in the experience, at least if they were the sort who liked to be noticed.

(Joreb and me, early 2010)

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I flashbacked to this experience recently because I have been signing up my toddler Joreb in all sorts of contests. The Smart Parenting Model Search was attractive to us because it would mean either getting on the cover of the March 2013 issue of the magazine as grand prize winner, or at least being featured in at least one of the pages as one of the top six kids. Conscious of what such an event could do to a shy kid, I tried to gauge Joreb’s reactions when he saw the other kids. Was he comfy about it? Was he scared? Thankfully, Joreb is not as shy as I was. He turned out to be a lot more confident, a trait he got from my mom and his dad.

Upon the recommendation of one of his godmothers, I also entered Joreb in the Mead Johnson Book of Best Starts competition. Kids are battling for Facebook votes this time. The top ten kids will each get iPad 3s. The next 10 kids will get 2000 pesos worth of gift certificates. Joreb already has a 7″ tablet. So, our entry is not motivated by the prize. We just want to know if we can win. We also want to know just how many people will be supporting him. Quite a few had already enthusiastically voted and to them – win or lose – I am forever grateful. Some kids already have 600 plus votes because they used Mead Johnson products in three of their pictures. Joreb only has 200 plus votes because his Sustagen photo was worth 200 points. It is a long shot, we know, but the whole campaigning thing is fun. It is also a road full of discoveries.

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motherhood, personal

Joreb Walks the Runway

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Last Saturday, October 20, Joreb joined the Smart Parenting Model Search 2012. It was the model search’s third year but it was our first time to join the contest. In 2010, when Joreb was a year old, I wanted to enter him in the said competition. Unfortunately, he went sick a few days before and during the actual date of the go-see. So, obviously we could not go. The following year, we couldn’t go either because I still had to attend Saturday MFA classes then. I definitely would not skip a class for a go-see. What kind of example will I be setting for Joreb if I did? Finally, this year, we found time for the go-see.

We didn’t expect that there would be a modelling ramp. During the model search’s two previous years, photographers only took photos of the kids. The kids didn’t have to walk the runway. So, I was a little nervous for Joreb. We didn’t practice anything at all because I don’t like forcing him into doing what he does not love, or at least like. I was afraid, however, that he would get scared of the ramp or would fall off. Thankfully, things went well even though he was a little uncertain at first. He gave the photographer his best smile and went walking on the ramp all by himself towards the judges. That’s awesome for a three year old first timer!

My husband and I decided to let Joreb join the model search because we want him to develop self-confidence. It was also a good opportunity for him to see and play with other kids aside from those he plays with on the condo’s 7th floor playground. If he manages to get a spot on the top six, we would be very happy. He would end up in the pages of Smart Parenting magazine. If not, it does not really matter because we had so much fun – so much that I fell sick right after going home. I am still sick with a cough and recovering from the flu. But, whatever. 🙂

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motherhood

Joreb Updates (home learning before kindergarten)

This coming 21st of October, Joreb will turn 3 years and 5 months. He is now very talkative, sometimes even talking all day long. He can understand Tagalog, Bicol and English, although I had made it a point to talk to him only in Tagalog. Of course, there are Bicol lapses and cartoons are in English but I was hoping that he’d learn one language at a time. In my humble opinion, that language/dialect should be Tagalog.

For one, we are living in Manila, and he will be starting school next school year. Two, he needs to learn one language or dialect at a time. Some Filipino parents have been trying their best to teach English as their children’s first language, but are not home most of the times. The yayas who are left with the kids speak to the little ones in Tagalog, Bisaya or whatever dialect they know best. The kids become confused as a result. Of course, there are some kids who do manage to learn two languages at a time with little problem. When it comes to kids, you really have to go on a case by case basis.

Another reason I am teaching Joreb Tagalog first is that there is always that possibility of our family living outside of the country one day. It would be good if he already knows his native country’s own language before that happens. Besides, at least in my own opinion, English is easier to learn as a second language. Tagalog or Bicol as second languages are a little tougher. As an elementary school student, my weakest subjects were P.E., Home Economics and Filipino.

Joreb, however, has his own plans. He uses YouTube to learn about all sorts of stuff. That is why he can talk and respond to simple English. He now also prefers English-language books. He can read some words: dog, cat, do, too, family, said, his, crunch, tiny, love, march, splash, good, bad, party, ready, go, snow, grand, etc. I just read him seven books before bedtime every night. He likes pointing at the words. Sometimes, he tells me the stories based on the pictures. He also answers questions from his Brain Quest deck and  his other Pre-K and Kinder books (even though he has not started going to school yet). I barely had to translate from English to Tagalog.

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Right now, Joreb is watching some science videos. He has become obsessed with black holes, planets, stars, moons and the sun. I am not forcing it on him. He just loves learning new stuff.

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motherhood, personal

Power Naps

Who knew? Power naps actually work well. I had an itty-bitty break of ten minutes. I lied down on my son’s mat with my feet up on a chair and had a fast snooze. My son kept opening my eyes and kissing my cheek, but I told him that I really needed the nap. So, he relented. I was able to sleep for a few short minutes despite the fact that Lilo and Stitch was playing in the background.

Anyway, I am now back in front of my laptop to work on my thesis proposal. I am finished with work early today. So, I can focus on the proposal, at least for about a little over an hour more. (But here am I writing this blog post.) Then, I will be off with the maid, the nanny and Joreb to buy the weekly groceries. Yes, it takes all four of us and three shopping carts to buy the groceries. It cuts down the amount of time needed to go grocery shopping.

I choose the meat (beef, pork, chicken), fruits, toiletries, snacks(juice, soft drinks, tea, bread, etc.), and breakfast stuff (meat, canned goods, cereal, milk). The maid picks up the detergents, fish and other seafoods, veggies, and all the kitchen supplies. Joreb picks his own snacks, diapers and toddler milk.  He sits inside a cart pushed by his nanny. He loves going shopping. I also love pushing a heavy cart and sweating it a bit out and relaxing.

I am an impatient buyer, though. I get annoyed when someone is still pondering about what to buy because I have my own to-buy list (though I still end up adding items and forgetting others) ready. I have memorized the layout of the supermarket. So, getting around is pretty routine. No need to think so much. I think enough for work and school. It is time to just pick up, push and pay.

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MFA, motherhood, personal, web content jobs

Updates, Updates

I’m back. I have not been able to update my blog for awhile because I was drowning in stuff I needed to do: work, thesis proposal and mommy duties. Now that I am back, I don’t even know how to focus on a particular topic. I have been writing on SEO & marketing, arts and culture, and B & B stuff for one company, and on product descriptions for another. Last week, I wrote 25,000 words in five days – for work alone.

Then, there are the constant revisions for my thesis proposal. My adviser is still not pleased with it – can’t blame him because I am far from being pleased with it myself. So, the 3,000 plus words have been completely scrapped and I am starting anew. There is that vague idea floating somewhere deep in my consciousness. My thesis is supposedly a mix of science and personal essays, so I had to review my Physics, update myself on theories as well as philosophies regarding my topic, and read all sorts of memoirs. My adviser said that I should come up with at least 20 pages for my thesis proposal and 30 pages’ worth of samples, due before Saturday. There is still work, of course, and home management to consider.  I am trying to be calm about it.

I did have a wonderful weekend despite it all. Last Saturday, Joreb had his nth haircut. I am so proud of him, not just because he looks oh-so handsome. He never cries when he gets haircuts. I also bought him clothes and shoes for next Saturday’s modelling search. Yeah, I registered him for a 0 to 6 year old modelling search. It’s really his first time. It’s for exposure, but not the beginning of a career because he’d rather be an astronaut or a surgeon than a male model – I know. 🙂 Who knows how he will turn out during that day, though: shy like mommy or outspoken like daddy. He kind of has a switch that makes him unpredictable at times, but I am sure he’d be adorable that day no matter what. Joreb is a pretty busy kid this month. He has a Halloween party to go to on the 30th. I don’t know if he would end up wearing his Captain America costume or his Harry Potter one. If he comes as Captain America, he would go without the mask. I’d put a bandage around his head, complete with fake blood. He’d probably use fake fangs, too. Captain America-as-Vampire (darn the Twilight theme the condo admin came up with – No, Joreb is not coming as Edward.) Oh yeah, I also need to promote his photos for a milk brand children’s contest in Facebook. Voting is from October 29 to November 9, I think.

Yesterday, Joreb, Donald (my husband, his dad), and I had a relaxing afternoon at the mall. We three are almost always stressed-out that it was time to just sit down, eat, and laugh.

So, that’s it for now. I need to go back to my thesis proposal.

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health, motherhood, personal

Nearsightedness: A Genetic Problem?

It has finally been officially diagnosed. I had long suspected that Joreb has myopia (nearsightedness) because he likes sitting on the chair closest to the television when watching his cartoons. I presented my suspicion to his pediatrician, who then referred us to an opthalmologist. The opthalmologist was a little hesitant to check him at first, but I told her that he knows his letters and numbers. Joreb was very cooperative, so the checkup went smoothly.

According to the doctor,  toddlers naturally don’t have 20/20 vision yet but it is still good to check if Joreb’s eyesight is right for his age. He should be at around +100 (100 grade for farsightedness), but his eyesight is already at -50 (50 grade for nearsightedness/-0.50 diopters). The doctor does not recommend eyeglasses yet, however, but Joreb has to come back in a year’s time. His eyesight has to be monitored properly.

Why does he have myopia? Well, he likes to “read” books and play games on his tablet. He enjoys watching television. Nearsightedness also has a genetic factor. Children who has one or both parents with the same problem will more likely develop it. My eyes are at -600 and -650. My husband’s eyes are at -125. I just hope that Joreb’s eyes will be closer to his dad’s level of nearsightedness and not to mine.

Next year, I will make sure to bring him for another eye checkup. Two of his playmates (ages 4 and 5) already wear glasses. Children nowadays are more exposed to devices that can cause all sorts of eye problems.

Here is a photo of Joreb after going home from his eye checkup:

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health, motherhood, personal

Joreb’s Mole (and other Birthmarks)

Just a few days after Joreb had his regular checkup (last Saturday), he had to go to the dermatologist. Well, we went to the clinic just this morning. He was complaining about his mole yesterday. He said that it was very itchy.

When Joreb was still a baby, we all thought that the large mark on his chest was just any port wine birthmark. Then, the birthmark darkened, and hair grew on it. The hair was apparently causing the itchy sensation. The mole shouldn’t cause a lot of  worries, considering that his lolo and uncle on his dad’s side both have large, dark moles with hair on their hands. Both families, as far as I know, do not have histories of melanoma. However, I could not help but worry, especially since his pediatrician advised us to get Joreb checked by a dermatologist.

The dermatologist was astonished at the number of birthmarks on Joreb’s body. The others were lighter in color and do not have hair. In short, they can easily be dismissed as okay.  The biggest one, however, needs to be monitored regularly. Because of this particular mole, Joreb cannot afford to develop a sunburn on his chest. He cannot scratch the spot, either, even if it itches. The dermatologist advised to use an ice cube on the area, instead.

For now, though, everything is fine. There is no need to go through a biopsy except if the mole doubles in size, gets jagged, becomes a site for a bumpier growth, and turns whitish/bluish/reddish.

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health, motherhood, personal

Joreb William’s Regular Checkup

My son just got checked by his pedia this morning. He had gained 1.5 kilos since the last time his  doctor saw him. He had to slow down on his future weight gain to avoid being overweight. He is now about 18 kilos (between 39 and 40 pounds) and 3 feet 3 inches at 3 years and 3 months. According to his doctor, his BMI, at 19, is just right. She also commended him for being very respectful, nodding and saying his “pos” and “opos” while talking to her. She said other kids are not that respectful nowadays. She made this comment almost right after another boy, a little older than Joreb, came barging into the clinic, pushing Joreb just as the pediatrician was checking my son’s ears. I had to hold my anger in check because the other boy could have caused an accident that could lead to damaged ears for my son. I also don’t like my son getting pushed around, especially since the boy’s mom is right behind her own son. It was a good thing that the doctor was able to hold her hands still enough.

Anyway, I was generally happy with the checkup, although we had to go home at almost 1 pm. Joreb is also set for a checkup with a pediatrics opthalmologist next week. He had been using my tablet everyday, learning spelling, reading and all sort of things, watching Youtube, and playing video games, so it is no wonder that I fear for his eyes. I myself am near-sighted, with both eyes at -6.00 diopters or 600. At ten years old, my eyes were already at -4.00 diopters or 400. I hope his eyes are fine, though, and that we will just be going for a routine check.

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