Thursday, June 30, 2011

Battling Separation Anxiety

As Ben adjusts to going to school on his own, we still have to reach a point where I can leave him with his teachers and classmates for the whole session. Though we are in no rush, our goal is that he eventually becomes comfortable enough that he doesn't look for me during class time. Here are some tips I got from his school's newsletter that may help other parents as well. Good job, Explorations!

Make Goodbyes Short and Sweet
Be consistent, firm and loving when you say goodbye to your little one. Stay calm. As tempting it is may seem, don't rush back at the first sound of protest. Children will feel confident with the new adults if you show them that they are to be trusted by not checking up on them every few minutes.

Let them bring along something that reminds them of home
If allowed by the school, try having your child bring his/her favorite toy during the adjustment phase or have him carry along a family photo inside his pocket. Having something familiar in a new environment might give her/her a sense of comfort and become less cranky.

Help the new adult relate to your child
Provide "insider information" as to what your child likes might help those in school reach out to him/her. Are there certain keywords or signs that can help the teacher communicate to your child better? Maybe having the teacher read a familiar story might break the ice.

Thanks Teachers Giselle and Jinky for the insights :) Wish us luck with Ben at school tomorrow :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Stay Safe, Everyone!

While Ben and I were at school today, someone called our house saying I got into an accident. The person knew my name and said I was injured on the road. It was our helper who took the call. Good thing she was smart enough to pass the phone to yaya, who was smart enough not to be fooled. It was very scary though. I never thought that this would happen to us but it did. Which made me realize that we must all be extra careful. Here are a few tips which might help keep us safe in our own home and outside. Readers, please feel free to share your tips as well so we can learn from each other.

1. Constantly remind the whole household about your rules on security and emergencies
Be clear on who will be contacted when there are emergencies and what to do when such things happen. Let them know who are allowed inside the house and how to be firm when saying no should the need arises. Make a list if needed.

2. Secure your valuables
People who would pull off a scam would usually target getting valuables out of the house. They'd target jewelries and cash since they're the easiest to transport so make sure they are in a safe place. Consider getting a safe inside the house or renting a safety deposit box at the bank.

3. Beware of people entering your house
Ask for identification if strangers need to enter your home (like repairmen, etc) to ensure they are officially employed by the company.

4. Remind the whole household to be very selective when giving information. Though "tsismis" among helpers/yayas is unavoidable, it wouldn't hurt to remind them not to give be too chatty

5. Stay alert and calm. No matter how smart you are, you can be fooled if you panic and let your fear get to you. And should anything happen, learn from the mistake then move on.

Stay Safe, Everyone!!! Have to get back to my Ben duties :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ben's First Day in Explorations Preschool

Ben has found a second home in Explorations Preschool. He'll be in their Toddler's Piglets Class, cute huh? =) And for this special day, Daddy Bry took the time to take him to school and observe how the little binata is with his new teachers and classmates. It took us a while before deciding to enroll him. Here are a few things we considered

1. School's Program
When we first visited Explorations, we were very happy with their approach to teaching and disciplining the little ones. Their teaching method is progressive, systematic but not forced. They even have field trips for the older kids.

2. Location, Location, Location
We are lucky that Explorations is a very good school and it's quite near our house. We can actually walk to it if we really really really need to (or ride a tricycle, hehe). Bry and I actually didn't consider if there were preschools nearby when we decided where to live but were blessed that we had a lot of choices

3. Teacher-Student Ratio
Explorations has about 200+ students with 40+ teachers, plus the yayas and the manongs. I like the individual attention they give to the kids and their families. Ben's teacher know me and Bry by name and personally texted us about the orientation. I was impressed by that. They have a yaya in charge of the children if they were dropped off too early or picked-up late.

4. Short term and Long Term goals, Progress Reports
During our parent interview, we were able to express what we hope for Ben during his stay in the school. They also have 3 Parent-Teacher conferences to discuss the child's progress.

5. How Ben feels about the school
During his trial class, Ben seems quite comfortable with his surroundings. He interacted with the people around him and didn't seem too attached to me or Bry. This was one of the signs that we felt it was a good idea to send him there. A tip we got from one of our parent friends was to arrive early so Ben can warm up and settle down before going to class.

Ben loves Kindermusik

Today marks Ben's one year with the Kindermusik, yehey!!! We've been attending Teacher Irene Tan's Village Class since July last year. It was my ICA batchmate, pretty mommy Shirley Tang Lo who invited us to try out the class. Ben was still a lap baby then, and hasn't even started crawling yet. It was an effort making sure we're on time and Ben's in a good mood during class, but it was worth it.

Kindermusik is a music appreciation class from ages 0-7 years old. As Teacher Irene would always remind us, our goal is not necessarily to form musicians, but to help children develop physically, mentally and socially through music. I really like it when Teacher Irene explains the reasons behind each activity. What's also great about her is she send us take home notes about the class and suggested activities we can do at home. I credit Kindermusik for teaching Ben how to pack away and take turns with toys since it's a routine in our class. I am excited for him to try their other programs in the future.

Oh, and by the way, for my fellow Tazians mommies (ICA Batch 98), our very own Jaymee Ng has also trained to be a Kindermusik instructor. Cool huh? Will try to post here if she has a final schedule of classes. In the meantime, here is the Kindermusik Philiipines Website

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lets Talk Milk (this post is not just for mommies!)

Ever since I started being a mom, I had become a breastfeeding advocate. At first it was because I know it was the best for Ben. But I admit, during the first month I was tempted to quit. Thankfully, we got past that. However, as the months passed I had become even more informed and determined to breastfeed not just because of it's benefits but because of the risks of the alternatives. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against mothers who don't breastfeed. I just think it is best to be informed and if I can get even just one mom to read this then I already did my job. I still have a lot to learn but will do my best to summarize what I have learned so far :)

Let me start off by saying that when we say formula milk, we are referring to not just infant formula, but more importantly formula milk for toddlers. In the US, the American Academy of Pediatricians recommend whole cow's milk for children beyond one and not formula. In fact, they recommend that toddlers who aren't breastfed take in only about 16-24 oz 0r 2-3 cups a day and that the rest of the nutrition he/she gets from solid foods. This allows the child to practice eating a more balanced diet, lessening the chance of obesity and iron deficiency. It seems that too much milk is not a good thing. Since cow's milk itself is an allergen, it can cause allergic reactions resulting to breathing problems. Also, do you know that cow's milk protein causes bleeding in our gut, affecting also our kidneys and liver? And it ironically can causes osteoporosis, yikes! Because of the composition of cow's milk, our body is actually forced to leak calcium to process it. For more details on the effect of dairy products, go here

Anyway, as much as milk companies try to make their product, there's still a lot of room for improvement. Irresponsible cow breeders expose cows to chemicals that give them hormonal and other health issues which can be passed on to humans who ingest them. This is why there have been reports of formula-fed girls having menstruation at age 4. Also, the process of production, from storage to packaging is prone to a lot of contaminants that are toxic. How come we are not that much informed about this? In our country, milk is a very competitive 40Billion industry. They can afford to invest a lot in marketing to make consumers feel that it's a must in a person's diet when it's not. Hopefully in the future these problems will be resolved. In the meantime, we must be careful about where we source our milk. (In most countries, formula milk is sold only for infants under the age of one. Here in our country, we have formula milk for almost everyone, even for a breastfeeding mommy!)

More importantly, all the more we should support mothers who breastfeed. Most people would be very encouraging towards mothers breastfeeding their infants, but it is a different story when the child becomes a toddler. They might receive comments like "isn't he/she too old to be breastfed" or "aren't you afraid your breasts will sag? (which by the way is hereditary and not breastfeeding related). I once went to a doctor (non-pedia) and mentioned I was breastfeeding so I have to be careful with taking medication. He asked me how old was Ben. When I told the doctor that Ben was past a year old, he told me that I should be giving formula by now or at least mix feeding. It broke my heart :( Breastfeeding has a lot of benefits that are even more important during a child's second year and beyond. It is not just for the purposes of nutrition and immunity against diseases. It is good for them emotionally and psychologically as well. Here are some of the many reasons why breastfeeding is beneficial.

Hope this post helps :) My apologies for the serious tone. I promise the next post will be a fun one :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ben's Baby Havaianas

Our Little Binata went shopping for his first pair of flip flops at Greenbelt 5 yesterday, courtesy of Gua-Ma :) We got him a pair of baby Havaianas. I think it's so cute and cool that they have designs for Ben's age. Hopefully, it will help him get the hang of walking around the house with slippers. I also hope that this pair will be comfortable enough for him. I noticed two days ago that both of his feet had early signs of a blister so I was worried that it was caused by one of the sandals he was wearing, which made me more careful about his footwear.

We bought the baby Havaianas at All Flip Flops at the second floor of the mall. The sales staff was accommodating. A nice tip we got was you can stitch the back strap of the slippers if it's too loose. This made us choose a size that a slight allowance so he can use it for a long time. My mom and I were actually tempted to buy for ourselves but our budget was only for Ben, hehe! Hope you guys enjoy the photos :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mommy Book Review: Pantley's The No Cry Sleep Solution Book

I came across Elizabeth Pantley’s The No Cry Sleep Solution Book in my search to improve Ben’s naps and bedtime. Though some parts are applicable for newborns, there are quite a number of tips that are helpful for older children. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from the book that seems applicable to our little master.

A Good Nap = Better Mood

Ben is better behaved, enjoys his meals and activities after a nap. This is why we do our best to let him have his nap most especially when we have visitors over or attending an event. He is also more focused in his classes whenever he gets at least an hour of sleep. One time we woke up too early from his nap that he was crying in his swimming class. We also find it very hard to feed him if he’s sleepy.

Longer Naps lead to a Good Night’s Sleep

This is a bit weird but true. In Ben’s case, the needs his morning and afternoon naps to have a good night’s sleep. There were a few instances when we weren’t able to put him for his afternoon nap and he just ended up waking up crying an hour after putting him to bed at night because he was too tired.

How a baby sleeps is how he is expected to be put back to sleep when he wakes up

Ben loves being breastfed to sleep so right now that’s how he is expected to be put back to sleep. This is alright for me for now since I don’t have plans of weaning him yet, but I long for the nights when I can just tuck him in and he eventually sleeps on his own.

Also, I find that he seldom wakes up during those nights when he would nurse then turn his back on me to fall asleep on his own.

Routine, Routine, Routine!

Ben’s bedtime routine involves a bath, switching off the lights, saying goodnight to the picture posted on our bedroom wall, then reading his bedtime story with soft instrumental music in the background. We try to be consistent, which is hard when we’re tired. The book recommends round 3 short activities that involve soft sounds and dim lights to set the mood.

Holding a crying baby is different from Crying it Out

I always remind Bry that there is nothing wrong when Ben doesn’t stop crying right away when he wakes up in the middle of the night and he is one who tried to comfort him. Sometimes it really takes a while for them to settle but at least we do our part.

A Note on the Pantley Gentle Removal Plan

I read in the book that to try diminishing the sucking-sleeping association, one can try nursing until the baby is sleepy (but not yet asleep) then take her off the breast as he/she starts to comfort suck. There will be resistance so you will have to end up doing this a few times until the baby finally gives up and falls asleep without sucking. I tried this with Ben but wasn’t quite successful. He just gets super cranky and there’s more crying. Not sure if I just didn’t try hard enough or it just doesn’t work for us.

Sweet Dreams, Everyone!