When your child teaches grace…

I was so happy to have been invited by Child Evangelism Fellowship to share to a group of pastors how I taught my 3 year old son about the bible. I shared how my 3 year old was able to memorise 10 bible verses.  I was in so much delight to encourage them to keep sharing the gospel to every child in their home, church and community.  It was a blessed morning of testimony sharing.

Returning home from that event, I was greeted by my children. After lunch I prepared to bring Joshua to his swimming class. He enjoys swimming and I really want him to learn the basics of surviving in water.

In swimming class, my son is the youngest student. In order for him to feel secure, I have to get in the water and join him too. Good thing the coach is very understanding towards us. After most of the drills that day, Joshua suddenly changed his mood. He must have felt tired. But instead of saying he is tired, he started screaming and feeling upset at me. After discussing and trying to pacify, he just kept screaming at me in the pool. I knew we had to stop swimming. So I asked his nanny to take him to the bathroom and change him so we could go home. He screamed and cried even harder and we could still hear him from outside.  I was getting embarrassed because other parents were asking if he was okay. I tried to rush and leave the hotel.

Joshua just did not stop his tantrum. He kept crying and screaming and was not at all listening to my instruction to keep quiet. This was going on for about 30 minutes already. People were looking, and I was stressed.  He kept on crying as we rode the elevator, all the way in the lobby of the hotel and even when he reached the car.  Despite all the commotion, the staff of my husband wanted to get from me the hotel membership card. I asked if I could give it at home because Joshua’s tantrum was uncontrollable. However, she asked if I could give it now because she needed it already.  Having Joshua screaming and crying by my ear…I banged the door at her, slapped Joshua’s mouth and screamed “SHUT UP JOSHUA!”.  I said this in front of my driver and the nanny, and of course even the staff of Steve heard all of this. Joshua mellowed a bit, yet I was so tense looking for the card in my wallet.  Finally, I found the card and gave it to the staff, but my good testimony in the morning was lost in that moment of tantrum.

It felt like a long way home as Joshua continued crying. My mind was just out in space in disgust with my own behaviour. Here I am professing I am a Christian, and at that one moment of stress, I blew it.  I lost my cool, I let anger take over, and it was such a bad testimony.

When we got home, I had to administer discipline on Joshua.  His butt met the spanking rod and he asked for forgiveness and stopped crying.  But the whole commotion overwhelmed me, that I was so upset with how I behaved. I just kept quiet when Joshua said “sorry” and did not mind him. In the shower, I prayed and told the Lord how I felt and how upset I am with myself. Meanwhile, Steve was talking to Joshua about obeying and respecting me.  Joshua knocked at the door of the bathroom and kept saying, “Mom, I’m really sorry.” But I kept quiet and did not mind him.

When I got out of the bathroom he kept following me. He would from time to time say, “Mom, I am sorry.”

Then I told him, “Joshua I need you to stop fighting mom. Im feeling sad.”

Joshua looking at me said again, “mom, I’m sorry.”

I told him, “I need time out from you, I am feeling sad.”

In my surprise, my 3 year old came close, placed his hand on my head and said… “Dear Jesus, thank you for my mommy.  Take her sadness, make her healthy and strong, make her have good dreams tonight, in Jesus name. Amen”. When he did that, my heart softened and I hugged him.  I then told Joshua, “Next time when you are feeling upset and angry, I should pray for you so you don’t fight mommy.” He then blurted, “pray for me now. pray so I don’t get angry.”

It was a moment of grace. My 3 year old was teaching me not to delay and pray.  So I placed my hand over his head and prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for Joshua. Give him a good heart, remove anger from his heart. We cast out any spirit of anger in his heart. Lord, make him obedient, loving, and kind. Help him love you Jesus. Let him know that Nothing can separate him from the love of God. In Jesus name”  and we both said, “Amen.”

I was fully humbled by God! Yes, I can start the day right, mess up in the middle, but God will always, always, make me right with Him at the end of that same day.  His mercy and His grace is so overflowing.  God used my 3 year old to show me an area in my life that I need to improve on — To be consistent in prayer, consistent in discipline, consistent in forgiveness and in the knowledge of God’s grace.

I thank the Lord for giving me a child who teaches me how to stand up after I stumble and reminding me that God’s grace is sufficient even in my weakness.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swim Lessons

Joshua had introductory swim lessons when he was 2 years old. We just wanted him to get familiar with the water. We also wanted him to have no fear of the deep and learn to survive in the water. 

We may have forced him to get into swimming lessons too early because he wanted to play more than to do the drills. For a time he did not want to take lessons and he felt maybe a bit pressured.  But Joshua loves the water. We just want him to build the confidence to swim.

There was a time that he became reliant on a batman body floater that he received as a gift. He would jump with it and be unafraid because he knew he would surface. 

But we want him not to be dependent on the floaters. We want our son to be able to swim.

Good thing Bert Lozada Swim School opened in Gensan. I enrolled Joshua and he is one of the smaller kids in his batch. He likes the swim coach and enjoys having classmates who do swim drills in the pool. 

He can now float and not be afraid to lie on his back.


He can now go underwater and hold his breath for 10 counts! 


He can kick with a kick board


He can also swim short distances. 


All these happened in less than 10 sessions! I really like the technique and style of Bert Lozada Swim School. I could say my 3 year old has improved in confidence, endurance, and survival skills. I know if we continue, he can really become a formal swimmer.

For moms in my area, I suggest for the summer to enroll your children to Bert Lozada Swim School in Greenleaf Gensan. Coaches are from Manila and they are great instructors. I highly recommend it. Plus the French fries and the spaghetti in Greenleaf are pretty good to eat after swim class! 

Make your own bubbles! 

I bought my kids a hand held bubble maker. We had so much fun with all the bubbles that we were making. My little girl was trying to catch bubbles and Joshua was blowing them away. 

   
 
We were having so much fun and we ran out of the bubble solution. Often times we ask ourselves if we should go to the toy store and buy bubble solution or make it ourselves? So I searched for recipes on bubble recipes. And I found one that I liked. It is the Tear Free bubble solution.

  
Here is this simple recipe:

TEAR FREE BUBBLE SOLUTION:

1/4 cup tear-free baby shampoo

3/4 cup water

3 Tablespoons light corn syrup 

As simple as this, you can let your toddler be the one to make it (with supervision of course). Mix the shampoo and water and then add the light corn syrup after. 

  
Not only was this solution easy and convenient. It is definitely cheaper. The bubbles would make big round bubbles that would float long in the air. It’s pretty good quality bubbles. But because of the corn syrup which is sweet and sticky, I suggest you play with the bubble maker outside of the house.

  
Children will always be amused with the bubbles. It’s a good bonding activity with your kids.

Saving the Earth

I have to thank the video of Pocoyo about Earth Hour. Joshua happened to browse that on YouTube channel and he just could not get his mind off what he saw. 

The video showed the earth turning red because of global warming. Everything on earth dying, the water rising, and a change in climate. The video stuck to Joshua’s mind so it became a teaching moment! 

  
I explained that the more we cut trees, and the more we pollute or scatter garbage, the hotter the earth becomes. Later, it becomes so hot everything burns and we will all die. The one way we can help is by planting trees! 

So Joshua kept repeating this story to his Lola (grandmother). Lola was amused by his interest that she kept this in her mind.

So the next thing she did was take Joshua to see the trees she planted in the farm. She told him that the tree grew so big and tall after taking care of it.  

   
Then Lola gave Josh a coconut seedling that he could plant. They walked around the garden and searched a place where he could plant his first tree!  

 
Josh kept talking about the red earth and he was quite serious about planting his first tree. They bore a hole in the garden where he would place the seedling. And he placed the soil around it. We talked to his tree which he just wants to name “Coconut”.  We told him to grow, to be strong and to be a good tree.

  
He watered his tree and felt very accomplished in planting it.His Lola was supervising and watching Joshua as he was experiencing his first tree planting.

I know this lesson will stay with Josh because he is not only interested, but he also had the opportunity to apply what he learned from that Earth Hour video. If every family teaches their children to do their part in saving planet earth, then maybe we can have a different future.

Teach My Preschooler

I was very happy to purchase on Amazon this kit called “Teach my Preschooler”. It has 4 categories and only needs 20 minutes of concentrated time. 

The Kit includes numbers, math, writing, and intro to reading. Joshua is pretty excited about it and he can’t stop going through the bag. 

  
I told him, “Mommy is going to be your teacher.” And he then answered in curiosity, “You are my teacher? Like teacher Alvin (his swim teacher)?”  Of course I answered, “Yes! Mom is going to teach you and we are going to have lots of fun!”

So we started with numbers. It has a booklet that helps your child get familiar to numbers from 1-100. When we went through it, I was really having so much fun because Joshua was able to count 1-100 on the first round!  Not bad for a 3 year and 1 month old.

2 days later, Joshua begged  to try out the math. He is getting more and more familiar with the concept of addition. The concept of zero is actually more difficult to comprehend than adding actual number values. But the more we practice, the more he will master it.

  
So yes, home school has started in our home. At this age, a lot of it is play.  It helps being creative when bringing up the concepts learned when we play. 

For instance the concept of addition.  As we play “guess how many in your body?”, we ask questions like, “how many eyes do you have?” and then we check by counting the body part. I will keep asking till we reach fingers and toes because It is more challenging to count. 

It’s been a blessing more than a challenge to teach my son. Looking forward to witness how he is growing in knowledge and wisdom.  

Let them make Pizza

Joshua is a big boy now. He always wants to be the one to do things. You will hear him say, “Joshua will do it” or  “I want to do it”. He even cried several occasions when I did not listen to him and did the chore myself. 

It’s a good age. He wants to wash his own hands, he  chooses what he wants to wear, he does chores like clean the floor with a broom. All I have to do is ask if he is open to doing it… And most of the time I get a “yes”.

One afternoon, I had to think of a good snack for Josh. Making a home made pizza is one fun activity. Of course it would be under mom and dad’s supervision. 

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough
  • Tomato sauce (you can make your own using whole peeled tomatoes, pepper, white onions, oregano, basil leaves, and a little sugar boiled in a pan until it becomes thick).
  • Cheese – mozzarella if you can find mixed with some cheddar
  • Ham/ mushrooms/ onions/

  
The dough we got were the small ones so it would be easy for my toddler to assemble a pizza. He placed the sauce, then the toppings,  and then the cheese.

   
   
A toaster oven can fit this pizza. After 12-15 minutes we have a a great afternoon snack all made by little chef, Joshua. He made 3 pizzas! One for dad, one for mommy, and one for himself.  Kids this age would love hands on stuff because they know they are more capable and willing to try.  

  

Tender hearted

In the past few days, I have been emphasizing to my 3 year old about being kind. It means being gentle and respectful of others and treating them the way you should be treated. It means being good to others. Joshua can be so expressive of his feelings and also explosive with his emotions. Sometimes he can be so intense with his emotions when he is irritated.

  
 Joshua would run a tantrum or fight or shout if things don’t go his way. He can be found saying “I don’t like you… You go away!”  So there were a few times that he said that to me. I knew if I just allowed him to disrespect me, it can go on. 

So, I had to scold, discipline, and explain to him. He was told to watch what he says. I also told him that I am unhappy when I hear him utter those words. Often times he would say those words when I ask him to obey me and he does not want to follow. Thus, he would say he dislikes me and wants me to go away.  At the end of our discussion, he would say sorry. He is more afraid that I would leave him because he told me to go away. 

Recently, another episode happened. He did not want to bathe and he started his tantrum. Asking him nicely was not working. He was headed for discipline. He screamed so hard it woke his baby sister who was sleeping.  After he got disciplined, he calmed down and obeyed to shower. After showering, I asked him to help me be a big brother by being kind and not waking his sister. When his sister is awake I have less quality time with Josh. So disappointingly I told Joshua that I am so tired, upset, and unhappy because his screaming woke his baby sister up.

To my surprise, he kept saying, “Mom, I’m sorry.” I also kept stupidly blurting, “I know you are, but this happens all the time, I’m so tired already.” Again, he placed his hand on my lap and looked with a really remorseful face and said, “Mom, I’m sorry.” I still went out of line and said, “Sometimes I wish I can just get away, I need a time out. You cry all the time and Anna does too.” Then this time he said, “Mom, I’m sorry. I’m going to pray for you… Dear Jesus, bless mommy. Make her strong, make her healthy, give her good dreams, make her strong…” 

I was pierced in my heart…my 3 year old tender hearted boy is praying for a mommy going on a tantrum! I continued his prayer, “please Jesus make mommy a good mommy, and make my babies good babies. In Jesus name…” And we both said “Amen”. 

After that prayer, I held my son who hugged me tight. I kissed him and thanked him for praying for me. He actually practiced kindness at the best form – prayer. My son just taught me to pray when they go through tantrums. To pray when they feel unworthy. That has to be one of the most powerful experiences I have had in my life! 

  
I look at my son, and I see his tender heart. A heart moved by Jesus… A heart that is filled with God’s spirit. It makes me want to cry for joy… I am so blessed. He is a work in progress and I am a too!

Well, here is the last story of that day … Joshua was doing something silly with his sister and I told him to stop doing it. He did not listen so I raised my voice and yelled at him. He then looked at me and said, “Mom, stop shouting at me, be kind to me.”

 Oooppsss! 

I was caught in the act! Mommy has to demonstrate kindness to be an effective  teacher of kindness. So I apologized and said sorry for yelling. I asked Joshua to forgive me. He then said, “Mom, be kind.” And yes, my  3 year old is right, I have to be kind.

  
God gave me children to teach me valuable lessons too!  And truly only the tender hearted are willing to learn them.❤️❤️❤️

Flying without my daughter

I had to attend the ASEAN Tourism Forum and it meant flying to Manila. I decided to just leave the children because I would be gone for just 3 nights. The biggest challenge for me was leaving my 1 year old baby who is still exclusively breastfed. This will be our very first time to separate from each other in a year.

 I bought my little Anna the sippy cup, a cup with straw because she opposed the bottle. We tried introducing her to formula and she just refused the formula milk. I thought, she won’t take it because I am still around. She would however sip duchmill yogurt drink (which she learned from her older brother). I bought 2 kinds of formula so she can choose which one she prefers while I am away. I also left several of my clothing that I have not laundered so she could have a sense of comfort when she smells me.

  
The night before I left, my little girl may have sensed it because she just fed almost every hour. I could not sleep! I did not have any spare breastmilk stored because once babies start to eat, supply usually deplete. 

I called a friend who left their daughter for a trip and she said that her daughter took the formula because she had no choice. They were gone for a week or even longer and their baby adjusted. So I trusted her advise and I also got this confirmation from another close friend who had the same experience. 

I left for Manila and focused on the sales mission for the next couple of days. I called to check on my Anna. I found out on the first day she was on full protest and did not drink from any of the sippy cups, nor from the bottle. She went on the whole day without milk and just munched away on food. I honestly started to worry.

  
Day 2- I learned that at 6 am she was supposed to take milk in between her sleep. However,  she did not. She woke up,  ate food and went back to bed. She was still protesting taking the formula milk. I had to start researching and learned that as long as she is eating a lot, she should be fine. So I relaxed. 

Meanwhile in Manila I had to express milk because my breasts were feeling painful. I was able to store some milk and many I had to throw away. 

Day 3 – I learned my strong-willed Anna just continued to refuse the milk that was given to her. I could not believe that she has reached this far without milk. She is well behaved but would cry before sleeping because usually we are cuddling so she could sleep. At night she won’t sleep early. She would stay up till 11pm and ask to go outside. There she would call “Mama… Mama…”. When I heard that, I felt that maybe she was waiting and hoping I would be home that night. I felt so bad to hear that report. 😢

Day 4- I could not sleep. I kept thinking of my children and how excited I am to see them. I wondered if Anna would still breastfeed when she sees me… I took the 6:35 am flight so I could be home the soonest that I could. I am missing my family.

As soon as arrived home, my son rushed shouting “Mommy!” … On the sideline with smiles and giggles was my baby girl who stood her ground to not drink any milk. She was so happy to see me that she positioned herself ready for breastfeeding. And that’s pretty much what she wanted to do all day was stick by me and latch!  

  This trip made me learn a few things about my daughter… When she sets her mind on something, she will stick to it no matter what. So for now we are going to continue breastfeeding until she is more ready to wean.

Cute and Sweet

These photos happen to be the cutest snapshots I captured one afternoon. I was having a meeting at home and I caught this situation:

Anna is in a middle of some car trouble  and only her Manong (Brother) Joshua can help. 
In this distress Anna is fortunate to have a big brother who is a bit of an auto expert!  

 
And in this bad  situation, sometimes a big brother is all you need to drive you out of it!  

 
Sisters are blessed to have caring brothers! Sometimes  just having your brother with you, makes you feel that everything  will be okay. 

 
Ahh… I’m so loving this stage. I pray that they will remain closely knit forever.

Here is another fun photograph from Kim Tiblani. Thanks for capturing these Kim! 

 

Sleeping milestone! 

My eldest son, Josh turned 3 years old and he is considered a Big Boy now. However, he has never slept through the night. Yes, he had the worse sleeping habits and he sleep talks and cries every night without fail!  

I partly blame myself for his bad sleeping pattern.  You see, I got pregnant when he was only a year and 5 months. He was not ready to wean from breastfeeding, but we had him move to the bottle. To wean him from breastfeeding meant that he had to also stop co-sleeping with me. It was a terrible time for Josh. He had to cope with all the adjustments…including sharing his world with a new baby.

 
From that time he took comfort on the bottle and he started rubbing his ears as one of his new habits to sleep. At night, Josh would wake 3 times each night and on each time he was given a bottle to make him go back to sleep. His style was to cry so he can get a bottle. Now, taking care of Josh was no joke and was really tiring. He would also dream and sleep talk or sleep scream. The nanny however, does not know much of the difference if he is awake or just sleep talking. So she would get the bottle just to keep him quiet. 

As he turned 2 and half, I was already trying to coach the nanny on lowering his milk intake at night. She did her part and just lowered the milk intake, but the waking in the middle of the night still continued. The nanny could not administer what I instructed because Josh would cry. It was not the crying that they were worried about, but daddy who slept in the same room because he would complain of Joshua’s noise. So they continued to give him night feedings.  

So, when Josh turned 3, I told the nanny that if Josh cries at night she should just give him water in a bottle. I also explained to Josh that ” you are older now and a big boy… You need to drink only 1 bottle to sleep and then wake in the morning already”. We got daddy on board with this transition. 

So Josh would take a bottle at night before bed and then when he asks in the middle of the night, he only gets water. In the beginning he cried and throw the bottle with water. Then, when we were on Christmas vacation and we all slept in one bed, it was where he mastered it. I would patiently talk to him when he would cry for milk and tell him, there is no more milk. He then learned to go back to sleep and there were nights he was upset about it.

  
But now, he has been sleeping straight from 10:30pm till 8 am. No more waking in the night to ask for milk or water. He is finally sleeping through! 

No more going to the Internet for me and seeking answers. No more going to a developmental Pediatrician because I was worried that this would go on forever. Lord, thank you! A prayer answered! 

I also love this stage where Josh actually prays before he sleeps and his prayer goes like this: 

Dear Jesus, please bless me, bless daddy, bless mommy, bless Anna, bless Yaya. Give us good sleep, keep us healthy, give us good dreams. We love you Jesus. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.