Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Make Brushing More Fun with Minions!

Bringing-up our kids provided us so much learning through experimentation, lots of patience, a mountain full of prayer, and creativity. The joys and trials that we have endured as our kids grow up have become avenues of so much learning. For my blog entry today, I have invited my ex-boyfriend, best friend, confidant, and husband to share a portion of our parenting experiences in his perspective.

As a little boy, I never enjoyed the ritual of brushing my teeth. Agonizing were the moments when Tatay Jun, my dad, would ask me to brush my teeth with the minty toothpaste that we used to have back in the day. One time, we were watching a cartoon program on Saturday television and Tatay asked me who my  favorite cartoon character was, and I told him that it was Donald Duck. Later that day when my brushing schedule was coming, he told me that Donald Duck's teeth were perfect (Later on, I learned that ducks don't have teeth.) and that he would want me to be like Donald and Donald would help me. With that I became very excited. So come brushing time, Tatay gave me a Donald Duck toothbrush. I diligently brushed  my teeth since then knowing that I would have the same teeth as Donald's.

Times have changed. I am now a father with two bouncing, very active, and assertive boys. 

minions, colgate, toothbrush, toothpaste

Teaching them the importance of mouth hygiene is a daunting task. I remember how my father has encouraged me to develop the habit. But boy, kids nowadays have a way of circumventing on every logic, notion, or rationale that are imposed by their parents. They simply don't listen and follow. It's more like listen and ask, "Why?" The trick is, if the reason does not conform to what they want, then so long reason. 

As for the "mouth hygiene" thing, my eldest Ross taught me one important lesson on how to do it. During one of our heated arguments on why he should clean his teeth, he argued, "Why can't it be fun?" At that moment, I realized that my dad a long time ago taught me and my sisters mouth hygiene by engaging us in somewhat "role playing" activity. Whenever we brush our teeth, he would pretend to be Donald Duck and would even imitate the character's manner of speech.

Ross at four
As for the care of my kids, my wife and I agreed to brush with them together. To enhance the experience more we bought them their favorite character themed toothbrushes. Then while we brushed together, we would pretend that we belonged to a family that would always do the same things one at a time. It so happened that my son Ross's favorite character then was Mickey Mouse.

So while we were brushing, I would usually ask him to discuss things about Mickey Mouse. Then at certain instances, my wife and I would give quick instructions to Ross the manner on which he should clean his teeth. So every night, we would gather around near the sink and brush our teeth together. It became our bonding time or ritual before sleeping. Our brushing time became a fun-filled and anticipated activity everyday. 

Nowadays, Ross has developed the habit of cleaning his teeth regularly even at times without us telling him. My wife and I together with him are still doing it but with one more "trainee" in the guise of his younger brother, Ice. Same routine, same fun but with a twist since Ice has Mild Autism. he has the tendency to stick to routines. On top of the routines that I have mentioned, one particular aspect of our brushing session with Ice is his fixation to a particular brand of toothpaste. Among all the brands that we have tried and tested on him, he prefers with utmost reverence, Colgate Original. So far, my kids have developed strong, white teeth on top of their good brushing habits.

The latest "Minions" themed toothbrush and Colgate toothpaste can be motivating factor for young kids who love the adorable Minion characters like Dave, Stuart, Kevin, Carl, Phil, and Lance to see brushing as fun-filled health-laden activity. Furthermore, Colgate has customized oral care by coming up with two (2) variants of their themed product, both available in Lazada Philippines---

Colgate Minions 2-5 Years Old (Junior) Oral Care Pack  and Colgate Minions Kids 5-9 Years Old (Youth) Oral Care Pack (This is definitely a must-have for Ice who is currently six years old.).

These packs were specifically designed through research to address the oral hygiene needs of kids while keeping them happy and inspired as they brush their teeth.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

ParentTown Makes Parenting a Community Effort

Moms and dads, do you know that there’s a new parenting app where you can ask questions and get quality answers from local experts? You can be an expert in your own right and share your parenting journey with other moms and dads too. I have joined and I am hooked, seriously! ParentTown is now one of my most favorite apps in the whole universe! A day shall not pass without reading and joining the conversations because there is so much to learn from other parents about anything about parenting! Believe me, it’s worth joining.

I believe that as parents, we don’t have the monopoly of knowledge. Sometimes we need someone to ask about certain issues such as raising children, certain home remedies for insect bites, etc., and best deals and hacks, and a lot more. ParentTown is I believe one of the best community to run to because there we can ask any parent and get answers quickly based on their own experiences that work for them and may work for us and our families too. We can also answer some questions to help other parents. The exchanging of ideas and insights is tremendous and what makes it amazing is that parents would do anything for the sake of their kids and they are so generous to share what they know to help other parents as well. In short, in ParentTown we can get quality answers. I’ve tried and tested it and it’s truly amazing.

Isn’t obvious that I really, really love ParentTown? Before I go further, this is how it works for you to understand fully.

1. You may join ParentTown by downloading the app for free through App Store or Google Play. If you have both Facebook and Google+ accounts you may continue using any of these and rest assured that ParentTown is not going to post on your social media sites.

2. You may follow all topics that interest you.

3. You can easily manage your profile based on your preferences.

4. Start browsing the conversations or ask questions and get quick answers from parents. You may look for other topics through the Search Icon.

5. You can also join the conversations by answering parents' questions, liking or sharing them, or  simply upvoting your favorite answers.

6. You can watch informative videos and get notified if someone upvotes your answers or questions, added you as a friend, etc.

7. You are free to share photos too.

ParentTown is so easy to navigate. Even non-techie parents can use it easily. It celebrates the joys and pains of parenting and assuring parents that there is always a community who supports them all the way. This amazing app is truly a blessing. 

You may join ParentTown community on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube for updates. I encourage you to join, Mars at Pards. If you do, let’s be friends! My ParentTown account it SJ Valdez! See you there and let's exchange insights! I am looking forward to learn from you! 

ParentTown is brought to us by Tickled Media Pte. Ltd., the creator of

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kids Get Burned Out Too!

School-aged kids nowadays are bombarded with too much school work but it's noticeable that they tend to be more resilient in dealing with the ups and downs of school life. Sometimes they become so adept with their daily routines that they forget to slow down, leading them to confusion, boredom, and sadness especially maybe, when they are being raised by authoritarian grade conscious parents.

In my opinion, being a grade conscious parent is okay as long as he/she is an authoritative parent. Authoritative parenting is needed when it comes to guiding our kids to succeed in school. In fact, according to Grace Shangkuan Koo, PhD on her book Raising Wise Dads, Moms, & Kids, "Authoritative parenting is high on responsiveness and demandingness... Unlike authoritarian parents (high on demandingness but low in responsiveness), authoritative parents combine warmth and support with enforcement of rules and use of sanctions when necessary. Yes, authoritative parents are controlling and demanding as they hold high expectations for mature behavior, yet at the same time they are warm and nurturant, listening patiently and sensitively to their children's point of view."

Papa and I consider ourselves as authoritative parents. When it comes to Kuya's schooling, my husband and I are very hands-on although we don't pressure him that much. We guide him using our "Three Basic Rules for his School Success" but I admit, there are times when he needs more pushing as the school year progresses. No matter how I want to avoid it, the pushing becomes intense when the major exams are approaching. Kuya tends to feel lax and says that he knows the lessons already and there's no need to review. He has this attitude of being too cool and that makes me so anxious and worried about what's going to happen next.

I trust my son but I have reasons to worry. (1) Kuya doesn't like to memorize. He's now a fifth grader and his lessons are harder and requires mastery of knowledge so he needs to remember all the important details from formula to rules, etc, etc. (2) He doesn't like to review his least favorite subjects (Parang sa akin yata siya nagmana, 'no? OMG! Blame it to my genes!).  He doesn't like Math and Filipino that much, subjects that entail too much memorization. (3) He is always tired after school. Aside from studying the whole day, he does his homework while waiting for his Papa. When he arrives at home, I check his homework and if I tell him to review some more, he says that he only wants to eat and rest.

I tell Papa about my sentiments regarding Kuya's behavior towards studying. He always says that I don't have to worry. Both of us should keep on believing that Kuya can do it on his own pace and time. In the first place, Kuya does his best when he's in school. How does Papa know? He's a teacher in the school where Kuya's attending.

He also says that Kuya's like him. Carbon copy daw siya ni Kuya.  

He would tell me that when he was still a kid, he also had the same attitude. But as he grew, maturity set in and all the teachings that Tatay and Nanay taught him sinked in that made him learn how to balance his life. Modesty aside, Papa was a consistent honor student from grade school to high school, an achiever in college, and an excellent teacher and student up to this point.

Papa always eases my worries. What we do to Kuya when he's not in the mood to study yet is we let him play his favorite toys or watch a short film. Then he resumes studying after. Kuya still complains about tons of things to do but by showing him that we trust him and believing that he can deliver make him feel assured that he is doing just fine. This also makes him realize that he is at the right age to become more responsible with his studies.

I feel guilty that sometimes I forget that kids get burned out too and that includes my son! I'm so worried about what's going to happen on his exams that I forget to understand he needs time to relax. The nagging and pushing that I do to Kuya make him more pressured and these lead him to  dislike studying or worse to have low self-esteem. I'm hurting my child unconsciously which is bad.

Papa says, "We are here to live and not to survive!" Yes, it's true. I may not see clearly right now the results of guiding Kuya but I believe that Kuya's going to be a good, talented, and successful person in the future.

Putting myself on his shoes is always a must for me to do. It's not degrading to go down to the level of my son. I was once a kid. I remember that I got burned out too when I was his age! And of course, adults get burned out, mga bata pa kaya? Who am I not to understand?


Friday, May 29, 2015

Bunso Has Mild Autism and It's Okay

I was about to take the Nursing Licensure Examination when I learned that I was pregnant with my second and youngest child. Honestly, it took me almost a month before I embraced the fact that I was again blessed with a precious gift and my dream of becoming a registered nurse and a psychiatric nurse would be postponed. I had a very sensitive first pregnancy and I was afraid to experience it again too soon. "Everything happens for a reason.", as they say. I realized that God sent him to me because he would make my family more happy and complete. Kuya was our  only child for five years and his desire of having a baby sibling would make him the happiest boy in the world.

Like every parent's dream, I wished that Bunso would be the best person that he ought to be. We claimed that he would be a beautiful person inside and out,  perfect in the eyes of man as he or she would be perfect in the eyes of God.

Papa, Kuya, and I would always talk to my womb, saying all our wishes for Bunso like Papa and I did while I was conceiving Kuya. Everyday was such a happy day for everyone despite being very challenging for me. I had to be a mom to Kuya and wife to Papa while experiencing another difficult pregnancy. My body was frail but I was surrounded with a dependable family, to whom I was getting my strength. Mom was with us and she was my companion while Papa was working.

During the second trimester, I noticed that Bunso seldom moved. I told myself, I hope he would be more subdued than Kuya, a more quiet and peaceful boy as he grows.

I experienced labor pains that were more painful and had a quick and easy delivery compared to my first but Bunso was diagnosed with poor hearing in his left ear. His pediatrician told us to have him checked again after six months. After six months, his hearing was fine.

While he was growing up, Bunso was jolly, active, receptive, and have all the characteristics of a normal growing kid that were age appropriate. He seldom got sick. We were glad to see that he was growing up having most of Kuya's traits.

But when he reached 24 months, we noticed that his development somewhat became slower than the usual. He started not to respond when being called, didn't have an eye contact during conversations, refused to be read with stories, refrained from playing educational toys, didn't learn words the way other kids learn like his age, tore books, threw toys frequently, didn't want to wear clothes at home, only wanted to eat certain foods repeatedly, fixated with turning the lights on and off, would open and shut doors frequently, fascinated with flowing water and fireworks, only wanted to watch a particular movie for days, and had excessive energy. Papa and I were teachers. We knew for a fact that something was wrong with him. Based on our own observation and assessment, we already had a hint that he might be having a Global Development Delay (GDD) but most probably, Autism.

We observed that Bunso possessed the signs and symptoms of Autism indicated here right before his initial assessment by the developmental pediatrician. Courtesy:

We chose not to seek the help of a developmental pediatrician right away. We were hoping that as months would pass, Bunso's behavior and speech would improve. Then on June last year, when Bunso was three, we decided to set an appointment with the doctor who was referred by a friend. After six months of waiting and days before his fourth birthday, he finally had his initial assessment.

When the pediatrician informed us that Bunso was having the condition Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Mild, we were not surprised. We were smiling while the doctor was saying her verdict and by the look on her eyes, she was surprised with our reaction. Maybe she was expecting us to get devastated and angry but we weren't. We didn't feel any sadness or frustration at all because "We love our son unconditionally and accept him for who he is despite his imperfections."

"May itatanong po ba kayo? (Do you have questions?)", the doctor asked as if she was surprised with our positive reaction. Then Papa said, "May mga hindi pa po ba kami naitanong, Doktora? (Are there questions that we aren't able to ask, Doctor?)" Then the three of us laughed. We ended the conversation on a positive note. 

We were thankful that our son wouldn't take any medication. We were so glad that his  locomotion was at par with his age and his cognitive skills were two years advanced his age. The doctor prescribed occupational therapy three times a week and speech therapy once a week to improve his behavior and language because both were a year and a half delayed We were blessed that Bunso was considered highly functional. 

On the day of Bunso's initial check-up we were able to meet someone from the OT center  that was recommended by the doctor. We immediately visited the place. The interior, facilities, and environment were nice, warm, and conducive for learning. The staff was also very accommodating. The vibes was good. Bunso became at home immediately and we had an impression that he would surely love it there!

We saw big improvements on his behavior and speech (Take note, he didn't start his speech therapy yet.) after five months of his regular OT sessions. 

Now he's able to respond when being called, engages in conversations with eye contact, follows simple commands, does simple tasks, becomes more affectionate, learns more words, likes story telling and group playing, becomes more interested in books, tries to read on his own, is eager to show independence by preparing his own food, washing his own hands, keeping his own toys and clothes, and has wide food preferences. He loves being caressed with water that's why we let him enjoy the pool and he is not afraid of it. He's trying his best to swim and float on water. Eventually, when he is capable of understanding complex instructions, we will enroll him to formal swimming lessons.

Having an autistic child in the family is more challenging. He throws tantrums in public which makes us receive disgusted stares from people who don't understand and feel that we are bad parents. We can't try different restaurants whenever we go to the mall because he only wants to eat ice cream and Jollibee Spaghetti. Everywhere we go, we are supposed to drop by the nearest SM Supermarket in our place because it's part of his fixations and routines. Bunso is very strict when it comes to his routines and gets frustrated easily when he's not able to do things as he wants it to be. As mentioned by the doctor, we should be watchful about these aspects, because our son is highly functional, can live on his own in the future and is capable of entering in a relationship. We have to teach him on how to deal with frustrations properly because a routinary person and perfectionist like him may not be able to cope up when not guided accordingly. 

All of us in the house, even Kuya, has to make sacrifices to make everything go smoothly because everything is unpredictable with Bunso. Just recently he doesn't want to watch movies anymore. He only wants to listen to music. Sitti Navarro and One Direction are the only artists that we hear for months and both calm him down. It's okay and advantageous to all of us because Papa and I want to limit him and Kuya's exposure to television and gadgets. He's very active and doesn't sit still for longer periods. We always chase him around the house and gets him down when he is climbing windows and cabinets. As a middle class family, all of us should be conscious on how to use our financial resources. Bunso's therapy and needs are very, very expensive so we have to give up our personal wants just to make both ends meet. Through all these, we become extremely patient and giving.

There are times when Kuya's asking, "Mama why is Bunso like that?" Then we explain to him again and again what condition his brother has and that we have to understand him more but not to the extent that we spoil him. Firmness should be exercised with gentleness. Bunso is intelligent. He knows how to get our attention and little by little he knows his limitations and understands whether he is doing something good or bad. To make Kuya understand his brother's condition, I always encourage him to read the story, "There's a Duwende in My Brother's Soup" by Lara Saguisag, whenever he's coming to the point that he is losing patience with him and it helps all the time.

Papa and I are afraid of the future despite the doctor's assurance and the experts say that Bunso is capable of living a normal life.  All we have to do is believe that he can and guide him so that eventually he can go on with his life

On May 6, Bunso had his follow-up check up. The doctor told us that he was ready to attend SPED. She stressed out that it should be a special school and not a regular school. We told her that we had no intentions of forcing him to attend a regular school because  it would hinder his growth and his classmates and teachers would suffer too.  

We want him to study in a place where he deserves to be. We want him to soar high and reach his full potential in a school that fits him. We want him to be treated in a way that he is being understood. When he is already equipped with the necessary skills and behavior to fit in a regular school, then we will allow him to study there. 

I believe that our acceptance and love for him make him improve in all aspects. At first, we were afraid that he would be treated indifferently by others due to the "stigma" of having Autism. But we asked ourselves, "Why should we listen to what other people would say?" We treat him and Kuya fairly. We treat Bunso like he has no special condition. He is okay. We are okay. He may be different from others, but for us he is a true blessing from the Lord.

God gave us Bunso because right from the start He knew that we could take care of him and love him more than anyone else in this world.

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