Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Explaining The Million People March To My Daughter

I woke up confused whether to go.  There was so much to do before a four-day business trip the next day, and already so little time spent with Ladybug Girl on regular working days as it is.

What pushed me to go was a memory: my parents.  Scrambling hurriedly through their things to grab flashlights and supplies to go march on Edsa in 1986.  They were ordinary private citizens and they could have so easily said "we're doing naman our share" or "I believe in it, but...".  My parents left five little girls behind in their humble home.

I am still so proud of them today. 

So what example was I setting for my daughter, being wishy-washy at home and worrying about a to-do list? 

But first I had to explain to my four-year old girl why we were leaving.  How did you explain it to your kids?  Mine went something like: "There are some bad leaders in the government who stole the people's money.  We are going on a rally - which is like a big parade - so that the government will listen to us, put the bad leaders in jail, and stop stealing the country's money."

Yeah, not too smooth. 

But the absolute very best way to connect to children?  Play!  

We made our own rally sign:
"Stop Steal" footprints and letters by Ladybug Girl.  PvZ2 partylist by Daddy.

And then we rallied around the house chanting a heartfelt cry:
"Stop stealing money!  Plants vs. Zombies 2!"

She couldn't understand that we would be gone for two hours:
            Her: how many minutes are you there?
            Her: (listens) but I can't count that big!
            Her: I wish it were seconds na lang
            Her: I am not going stop counting until you. come. back!

I set up a countdown timer on the iPad and she was fine after that, secure in the knowledge of where her parents are, why they were there without her, and when they would come back.  Isn't that what every child just needs?

And so we went. 

We found the flag of our University of the Philippines, who taught us to act for our country 

This was sissie #5's first time to rally.  Sniff!  I took her to her first vote at eighteen too!

Every parent there was marching for their children.  Thinking about how to teach them well.

I brought home this message : 

And she sent me one of her own:

Her reassurance made it all worth it.

Our kids make us proud to be their parents everyday.
May we make them proud to be our kids, too.


Monday, 26 August 2013

My Favorite Toddler Workbooks

I use the term "workbooks" loosely.  Because I'm not a fan of workbooks.  I think they're boring, and to me they bring back distasteful memories of homework.

But when I came across these workbooks for 2-3 year olds, I thought ingenious!  These workbooks are perfect for working moms, and let me tell you why.

Kumon's The First Steps Series

At first I couldn't believe that they were from Kumon.  Because I'm also not a fan.  Two summers ago, I witnessed a 6 year old being told to do his Kumon worksheets by his yaya.  And oh my, was the poor little guy in pain.

But I love these workbooks because they're fun practice on beginning fine motor skills of cutting, folding and pasting.  Best of all, they're perfect for leave-behind activities while momma is at the office.

This is a cheap two-tier tray which holds activities torn from three workbooks

Top view.  The left side is the folding work (done), and right one is cutting:

So simple and intuitive.
We did a few together during floor time play and then started the leave-behinds.

I leave three at a time, and each workbook goes from super beginner...:


... to a gradually increasing skill level:

The sticker-and-paste (completed) worksheets :
These are more time consuming because you need to cut out the puzzle pieces first.
I leave them in a bowl (the purple one, five pictures ago) , ready for pasting.  

And my favorite one for my little leftie: cutting work!

The good news is that it's only ~350 pesos per book.  So it's a nice way to mix up cutting practice leave-behinds.

The bad news... I found these in Hongkong and Singapore only.  So this post is a shout out to the Manila bookstores to please carry these discoveries.  You guys only have the versions for 4-5 year olds which are way too hard for toddlers:

We've tried them all when she was 3 and a half and shelved them.

I wonder why they don't carry the First Steps series locally?  Kids have to start somewhere.

Moms, too.
Working moms, more.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Washi-ing the Playroom

After doing some civic duty in donating to flood victims, I need a break from being glued to Twitter and FB for gloomy news while the rains and floods keep us indoors.  

I will be washi-taping stuff.

Here's what's been done in the last month since Ladybug Girl's room was painted purple.  Yes, I said a month ago.  Don't judge me, I'm slow.

First the color scheme I was agonizing over.  My sister pointed me towards green and purple.  I never would have considered green!  Until she sent these helpful photos:

For future reference, a helpful co-worker pointed me towards this site of color combos which was so great I used it to decide on Ladybug Girl's colors for her birthday (poopoo) party next month.

First to get replaced was the wallpaper backing on the shelves, which was just cloth I stuck with double-sided tape:

This is not a good idea for cloth where the yellowed tape can show through.  But it held up fine for two years!

Remember that ridiculous pile of fabric I had during my last home purge?  Finally used one of them.

I love modern stripes!  Maybe too much since it's all over my home. 

Here's what it looks like for now, clutter and all.  I'm liking the green, what do you think?

Here's what it looked like before:

It feels a lot less cluttered now.

I washi'd her art gallery because I had a lot of green washi tape.

Me thinks me likey.

Here's what it looked like before:

I had our handymen paint the frames white first.

Very happy but maybe also little too-stimulating as a view in front of the bed

The new art gallery looks less cluttered: 

Art is stuck with washi tape (it never peels off the paint)

While the little girl was napping, I quietly washi'd to my heart's random content:

Her xylophone case is ugly no more.  But this took a whole half hour -- that's way too long for a corporate mom.

Alternating stripes have washi tape designs to lessen the boldness and blend into the room more.
(It's better in person)

I didn't spare the battery case of her hanging twinkly light decoration - it got washi'd too.

I didn't spare that screw head either.


As the washi madness takes over, I am relieved to share that I finally had those curtains hung up on either side of the bed to define the sleeping space.

It's pulled forward for naps/bedtime and pulled back otherwise

How the same area looked before:

See the transformation process here

Lastly, those red chairs and very stained table got a makeover too:

When they were brand new:

And still looking brand new thanks to spray paint:

I love the bright blue third accent color!

Ladybug Girl even got the washi tape home decor fever:

I came home one night to find neon price stickers and what-have-you on her bedside wall.

I like the purple walls now.  And that "washi'd" is now a completely legitimate word.

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Perfect Doctor Kit

I realized I was a toy doctor's kit snob when I couldn't find anything I liked over all of Ladybug Girl's four years.  They were either too-cheap plastic, or too-basic wooden ones.  So I just DIY'd one.

Making one of our own made so much sense, I wish I had done this earlier.

All you need is: a plastic briefcase (I had one from our egg timer set packaging but you can get them from school supplies), a glue gun and anything you can use to create cubbyholes in the kit.  Ours had:

  • caps to create compartments (these were from shaving cream and facial wash)
  • a pretty box from my boss which once held chocolates
  • 2 empty poster paint containers
  • a cardboard box packaging

Glue something sturdy to create some backing (this is optional, but I used a spare placemat), and then just stick down the organizers however you want

Something like this:

I debated about wrapping that cardboard box, but maybe if I had more time.

The cubbyholes keep the tools in place even when the doc is on call.  Woot!  No more tool jumble.
(What, don't you hate that too?)

What makes this the perfect kit?  You can customize the tools according to your little one's interest.  
Or Doc McStuffin's.

Here's a closeup of ours:  

Doesn't that just make you want to dive in and... heal things?

And if that doesn't, the washi tape on the front label will.

I did this before sticking it down.

Enough of the slapdash DIY, more play!  
This customized kit has inspired a lot more doctor play around here. 

So many patients, so little time!

24/7 Doctor is on Call

Filling up the jars herself (this is ripped paper)

Washi tape for scissor practice and  a great bandaid on daddy's sleeping back

He needed an injection

And another bandaid.

Mike needed an eye patch too.

And so did I.  I'm not doing this again though.

On my list of other playstuff that are better off DIY'd: cleaning supplies, tents and bath toys.  I'd say play kitchens, but I don't have the talent of paperminties.  

What play thing do you prefer to DIY?