parenting, travels

Grass Hunting: Part 3

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City dwellers like me have to go through great lengths to experience the outside. We’ve been grass hunting because I want my kids to grow up with actual playtime rather than the playtime you get from a screen.

My husband, Lawrence, had a work trip to Clark this week and the whole family joined him. Clark is in Pampanga, about two hours away from Manila. It used to be a US Air Force base but is now redeveloped to be a hub for business and leisure.

We stayed at Quest Hotel, which is nothing spectacular. It’s an old hotel that is showing its age despite being well-maintained, but they make up for it by providing really good service.

But where the hotel truly shines for me is that right behind it is the most massive field I have ever seen in my life. It’s called the Parade Grounds and it is used for sporting events. It has a few soccer nets and a rubberized jogging path traces the circumference of the field. We saw a few bazaar booths in the distance, but we didn’t really visit them.

The kids had a grand time running aimlessly and chasing the birds. It came to a point where R got too tired to run back to us. He stopped and cried, “it’s too hard!” I had to go to him and pick him up. His back was sweaty and his skin warm from the sun. He turns to me red-faced and says, “thanks, mama.”

I didn’t think my heart could contain the Parade Grounds, the sun, the sky, and the whole of the outside universe at that time.

 

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parenting

Navigating the Rapids of Parenting Review (Parenting Made Practical Review)

When I heard that there was a chance to review something called the Navigating the Rapids of Parenting, I jumped at the chance. First, because is there another metaphor that perfectly captures raising tiny humans? It does feel like being swept away by water sometimes. Also, did I mention that I have a huge fear of boats, boat-ish and boat-like vessels? For some people, parenting is instinctive. For me, it often feels like I’m flailing around in the void. I’m happy to receive any help I can get.

Parenting Made Practical goal is to raise “obedient, respectful, and responsible” children.

The video is by Parenting Made Practical and led by parent-educators Joey and Carla Link. Their expertise stems from 30 years of experience. It examines the different stages of parenting, from babyhood all the way up to the college years.

The video is chock full of information about the phases kids and their parents go through. It is similar to other parenting videos or books in that it goes into detail about the whys and whens of typical behaviors at each stage. What stood out for me the most though is that the video makes the point that some behavior issues take years to work through.

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H is turning six next month. Already, we can feel like she’s saying goodbye to her baby-ness.

In the first part of the video, the focus on young children and the expectations of their behaviors. In our case, we have a very clear picture of  how we want H to behave. Of course there are little details, like asking to be excused before standing up from meal or learning how to share her toys without grumbling. But, our goal for her at this stage in life is distilled into one rule: do unto others what you want them to unto you.

The video goes on to talk about how important it is to have independent thinkers, which I wholeheartedly agree with. I’ll be a parent forever, but my child is only a child for a short time. The things I teach my children should allow them to think for themselves. Hopefully, the way we raise them now will lead them to making the right choices in the future.

Parenting videos are tricky, since what counts as gold for one can be eyeroll-inducing for another. There are just so many schools of thought when it comes to parenting that it’s hard to wade through the information. But this particular video has such sincere, practical advice it’s hard to disagree with. Please note though that the video does make use of passages from the Bible when making certain points.

The video itself is well-made. You can tell that this was not a haphazard production. The sound quality is good and the visuals are not distracting. The pace is just right, so that you don’t get lost in unnecessary examples of ramblings. You get what you came for when you watch this video.

All in all, Navigating the Rapids of Parenting is a good purchase for those who are looking for guidance (or even reassurance) when it comes to parenting their kids. It’s a good purchase for families with younger kids since it gives you the advantage of knowing things before it actually happens. For those with older kids, the company also has other products like Dating, Courting, & Choosing a Mate… What Works?

To learn more about the products and Parenting Made Practical, you can connect with them through their social media accounts:

 

 

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

 

homeschooling, parenting

Interactive Fun at PlayLab Cebu

Our family spent about two years living in Cebu because of my husband’s work. Although it’s been about four years since we moved back to Luzon, Cebu will always be close to our hearts.

We jump at the chance to visit whenever we can. Even H, who was barely three when we left, gets giddy with excitement. Cebu is still home to her.

Fortunately, we were able to make the trip recently. We stayed at Summit Hotel, a relatively new location for this established hotel chain. The hotel itself wasn’t anything special and it featured a disturbing trend — doorless bathrooms! Why? Although the shower and toilet stalls had cubicle doors, I would still rather have a real one than I can close behind me.

But, whatever weird taste the room design left in my mouth was negated by the fact that Summit was right beside PlayLab,  Touted as the first digital playground in the Philippines, it features 14 exhibits where children can use technology in interactive and creative ways.

The first thing you see when you enter is this giant screen with lights. The lights react to your movements. This must have entertained the kids for a whole hour.

In this activity, you transform into different animals. I think the animals are based off the animals in the Chinese calendar. H was obviously ticked at the thought of being an ox.

R is trying to target the trash with a ball. The trash is supposed to explode in a cloud of bubbles, but he wasn’t strong enough to throw it with enough force. He tried to remedy that to no avail. His frustration was palpable.

A lot of the exhibits had the same concept. Design something and then watch it on a screen. Here, we designed butterflies. They also had one where you can build tangram rockets and launch it into space. In another exhibit, you can scan pictures of animals you color and they run around a forest.

The was R scrambles to try to catch up with his sister cracks me up.

The kids obviously had a grand time. They liked it so much that we returned the following day. Although since that was a Saturday the place was packed. We didn’t get to enjoy the exhibits as much. Friendly advice: if you’re going to go, better go on a weekday when the crowds are more manageable.

PlayLab Cebu is open daily from 10am to 9pm at The Greens, Level 1, Robinsons Galleria Cebu. Entrance fees are P200 per person for two hours during weekdays and P250 per person for two hours on weekends.

 

 

parenting

Grass Hunting (Part 1)

One of the first things people learn about the Philippines is that we are an agricultural country. As a student, I remember memorizing the main crop products of each region. Bicol grew abaca and Bacolod was known for sugar cane. When in doubt, you can always say copra since those are grown everywhere. In short, land is our lifeline. Filipinos should love earth and soil and plants.

But, the cities are starved when it comes to green, living spaces. We live in a condo and we are about five minutes away from a mall in every direction. When it comes to parks though? Good luck with that.

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to find places for them to experience nature. I’ve set the bar pretty low. I’m not looking for wildlife parks or forests. I just want a place where they can run without mom yelling at them to slow down lest they hit their heads in the concrete.

Our first stop was the park at The Ayala Triangle in Makati. It’s close enough to our place, especially on a Sunday when traffic is more forgiving. Parking is easy, because there’s paid parking right beside it. Entrance is technically free, but there are so many food options it’s almost impossible to walk away without buying anything.

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The grounds are well-maintained. But, pets are allowed in the area so you have to be mindful not to step on dog/cat poop.

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Lots of space for running and dancing. Security was also pretty tight. There were several guards stationed at the park and they were quite vigilant.

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Large trees mean that there are lots of interesting things to fixate on like sticks.

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I love seeing them come alive when they have space to run. Seeing them curious and carefree makes me want to pick up a sign and lead a rally, “Less malls, more parks!”

food

“Ow, you’re squishing me!” Bento

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What is it about kids that they are programmed to be picky eaters? My daughter dislikes egg yolks, milk, chicken, and carrots. My son dislikes everything except doughnuts and ramen.

One trick that I use to make them eat better is the Do As I Say rule. Usually, this involves telling them the story of how the Pharaoh was cursed by God with 10 plagues because he kept on disobeying.

But, I want the kids to have pleasant memories of mealtimes. They should have a positive relationship with food. Not associate it with rivers of blood.

So I make these little bento lunches. It’s cute so they’re interested. My daughter makes up a whole scenario where the faces are going to a party inside her tummy. My son roars like a dinosaur sometimes; other times he makes up dialogue like, “please don’t eat me.” Then he gobbles them up.

For this, I just shaped rice into balls and added nori for the eyes. I have a puncher to make it easier, although scissors work just as well. The rice comes with humba, a vinegar and soy sauce pork stew, and sauteed vegetables.

It’s not as complicated as it looks, but it does take some time to assemble. Say, 30 minutes? But, it sure beats having to make angry faces just to make the kids finish their lunch.

 

 

parenting

How to Have Time for Yourself When You Have Kids

I love my kids, but sometimes I really need a break from their child-like ways.

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Since necessity is the mother of all invention, I accidentally came up with a way to get some peace and quiet. Want to hear?

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First, ask the kids if they want to play hide and seek. Say that you’ll hide first. Make sure the kids see you rush into the bedroom. Rush to arrange the pillows and the blanket to make it look like someone is under the covers and then hide somewhere nearby. This is phase one.

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The kids will naturally check the bed. Their surprised faces will signal the start of phase two.

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When they leave the room to check somewhere else, it’s time to relax on the bed.

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You’ll have about 10 minutes before the kids come back to the bedroom looking for you. Honestly though, there are some days when even the shortest of breaks already feels like a vacation.

Bonus: When they find you, ask them if they liked your trick of shapeshifting into a bunch of pillows. Their little minds will explode.

You get some time for yourself and they have proof that mommy is magical. Everybody wins.

 

 

parenting

None of Your Beeswax

Parents, raise your hand if you have ever encountered someone who acted like their sole purpose in life is to comment on how you raise your kid.

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They can be family members, total strangers, and my personal favorite, people who don’t even have kids.

neverletMost of the time, I just give a small nod to make it seem like what they said is of consequence to me. Have you ever tried to engage anyone in a debate over parenting?

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It’s pretty much pointless.

There’s a notoriously judgmental parent at my daughter’s school. Both my husband and I have been on the receiving end of her disapproval, in varying degrees. Maybe she’s the grandmaster wizard of parenting, so she’s entitled to point out what other parents are doing wrong., but I seem to have missed the memo.

What I am certain about is that parenting is such a personal experience. It’s hard to say that what works for you will work for another. Love is shown in so many ways.

My kids are happy and healthy, and when they throw their little arms around me, I would like to think that means that we’re doing well. So what if another parent makes a snarky comment?

You know what happens when you give enough snarky comments, right? It gives the rest of us the chance to whip out Mean Girl references.

 

A Definitive Ranking Of The Best "Mean Girls" Quotes