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.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Faces! 

It’s great to have a glass table top with a white board pen, and lots of imagination! That was all we needed one afternoon. Josh wanted to do something different from his usual playing with toys. That afternoon we made faces. 

I drew large circles and I let my son draw different faces. He had faces that smiled, others that did not, others even had curly hair. 

  
This fun activity let him explore emotions and explain what the people he drew were like. He drew eyes, nose, ears and mouths. He even had some with pimples because he remembered some household members having them! It was honest and funny! 

  
When we were doing this, we were having great conversation and laughing at some of his comments. We would draw and erase, draw and erase… A glass table top with white board pen is a pretty convenient learning space. It’s a great way to practice Josh’s hand grasping and motor skills. 

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.

 

Fearfully Made

It’s good to teach children body parts as an intro to science. Let our kids  know how God made us. So for this activity I drew on a white cartolina a faceless Boy without arms and legs. 

The idea is to make the eyes, ears, mouth, arms as cut outs that Joshua will paste into the faceless drawing. As a guided play, we start explaining the uses of each part. 

First we have 2 eyes so we can see. Then I wrap my hands on his eyes explaining if he had no eyes he cannot see. God gave us 2 eyes. Then 2 ears so we can hear and listen. Then, I cup my hands on his ears to explain that without these we cannot hear well.  And then further explaining 1 mouth for tasting and talking. Lastly God gave us 2 arms so we can feel, hold, and touch. Then, I held and hugged Joshua. I explain that hands are for helping and serving others. 

  
It is a simple activity at home that just needs paper and pen, scissors and a stick glue. I let Joshua stick the cut outs on the proper places.

Also you can further explain what areas in the body that are considered “private”. These are areas that other people should not be allowed to touch. He also should not touch other people’s private areas. They are private and should be left alone. This helps get our children awareness so that they don’t get into situations where they are in danger of molestation. I know it sounds so morbid, but there are horror stories of kids being molested. The worst part is when children are not sure if what was done to them was normal or not. So it’s good to keep our children aware and informed.

When teaching about body parts, it is important to note that God had a good plan in creating us. We are made in His image and likeness. We are also fearfully and wonderfully made! 

Colored Rice

Looking for something new to do, I stumbled upon some ideas on rice as a tool for sensory play and learning. So off we went to the kitchen and got some rice. Little did I know that my son would love this little project! 

First I prepared 4 ziplock bags and placed about a 1/4 cup of rice each bag. Then we got some food coloring with water and placed one color per bag. We prepared to do 4 colors.  After about soaking them for 15 minutes, we removed the excess water and drained the rice. Later, it was ready to be air dried.

 
But since Joshua and I were getting excited to play with the rice, we opted to use a hair blower and cloth to help us dry it quickly. 
Once it was dry,  the rice can be used to hide alphabets that he could guess. I tried to do one alphabet per letter. However, as we began playing that, it was not easy to keep every rice grain to stick to its proper colored bowl. Later, Josh wanted to mix them all and it was actually cute to have mixed colored rice! 

   
 
As I left Josh to explore with the rice on his table, he was making lots of artwork with his hands. First he was making circles. Later his imagination just left him to play there for almost an hour! 

   

This was a great sensory and learning tool for the day! Even the process of making the rice was such a great bonding experience for us! 

 

Paper Plates are fun! 

You know one of my passions is being my child’s teacher. Mothers are the best first teachers of our children… So here are some fun ideas to explore with your toddlers at home.

I have loved paper plates and have stock up on those for fun activities to do with my child at home! Pinterest has a lot of ideas on what arts and crafts you can do with paper plates. 

For now, we have done some pretty fun stuff with them and let me show you ideas that can be done! 

NINJA TURTLE

Just cut some green colored paper and paste it on the paper plate. Cut the ribbed edge of the upper half of the plate. Then make eyes on paper and cut it out. After, make the eye bandana with an orange play doh. Place the eyes in position and a mouth. And our Ninja Turtle is done! 

 

FISH

Cut a triangle on the paper plate. That triangle will become the tail of the fish so paste it at the opposite side from where you cut it.  As good exercise for the fingers of Josh, I let him cut on colored Japanese paper or tissue which will be like the scales of the fish. His job is to cut and glue these paper on the paper plate. Once completed we put an eye so you can see the fish! 

  

SEA TURTLE

Using a recycled paper plate, I  used the backside of the plate. We cut out the legs and head of the turtle from a green colored paper. To make the turtle’s back, josh uses water color and sponge to complete the look of his sea turtle.

 

These are easy activities that help grow our child’s imagination and artistry.

  

Colored Ice! 

Thinking of painting in a different style, I tried to follow other moms who use food coloring and water. The new idea is to put them in a ice cube tray and freeze them!

  
I placed Popsicle sticks a little early, so my ice cube tray looks like this. It still was as good because it still was able to pull out the colored ice cube. My son was excited with his new medium for art! 

  
What we used was a cartolina paper. I also recently ordered some tables and chairs from a dear designer friend, Rain Ramas. This is where Joshua can do his activities. I find it so important that Joshua will be able to reach and do things in his level and height.

  
Okay, my son started to talk about what he was doing and he has some application from our recent visit to Mind Museum. He said that he was making planet earth with the stars! A little bit of science input there. He is beginning to understand that we live in planet earth and that there is a sun and moon, with other stars and planets. The movie “Home” also made it clear that there is a big universe or space out there where the stars are, and that we live on planet earth. 

  
I am seriously amazed at my son’s growing knowledge and imagination. This was the first work he did on ice cube paint! It was so fun we ended up having to do another cartolina paper. But Joshua ended up letting our dog eat the remaining ice and he enjoyed eating this edible colored ice too!

  
This is really one fun, fun, fun activity for 2-3 year olds. But I say, even a 38 year old mom like me, enjoyed it too! 😄😄😄

Letter Activity H,I,J,K

I try to introduce one letter a week to my two year old. I try to make it as creative as possible so that it retains well in his mind. I also search the net to find ideas and inspiration on what activities to do. So these are a few we have done.

The Letter H

Using a paper puncher, I punched the colored paper and made holes that would make an H. Then I stuck this colored paper on a paper plate. The idea is for Josh to use paint and a sponge and smudge a color on the holes. Once he is done, we take the colored paper and see the H impressed on the paper plate! 

   
 

Letter I

With the letter I, the activity encouraged Josh to write the ” I ” with a pencil. Then introduce him to objects starting with the letter I. To add more activity, the cotton he glued unto the paper to pretend it to be the ice cream on a cone. (Please excuse this reverse view because photo was taken from the point of view of the teacher.)

 

Letter J

For this Letter it was easy for my son to remember because Joshua now knows that it’s the first letter of his name. We did a fine motor skill activity where he inserts a noodle over his straw. At the end of this we curve the straw to make it look like the letter J. 

 

Letter K

I love paper plates! It’s cheap and can be used for many activities. So to introduce Joshua to K, I drew a big K in the middle of the paper plate. I then placed examples of what objects were starting with K. Still with a bit of fun, I asked Josh to use his play dough to follow the Letter K. I had to help him here, but he succeeded in putting the play doh on the paper plate. 

   

As I go along from time to time, I check if Josh remembers randomly the letters individually. I realized some he would, but others he won’t. So in that part, I am learning to just relax about it. He is only 2 years old and 8 months! As a mom teaching at home, I must make Joshua enjoy and play and he will naturally absorb these fun learning. These activities help him familiarize with the individual letters and their sound. 

   

Glittery Sensory Bottle

Thinking of ideas you can do with your toddler today?

Here is another fun and creative way of making something new with your bottled water container — A sensory bottle!

All you need are the following:

1. Small objects you can put in the bottle such as trinkets, buttons, dice, little foam

2. Glitters

3. Used plastic bottle with a cover

4. A sense of fun!


I coached Joshua in putting in the stuff. First, fill the bottle in half with water. Then I let my toddler put those little items in one by one. Then we pour in the blue glitters and continue putting more small items inside.



Once you have put enough fill the bottle with more water and close the tip with the bottle cover. Try putting upside down and downside up! See the items inside move from one end to another. The glitters under the light has that nice glittered touch!

It reminds me of those glittered ballpens I had in my grade school. I loved those water pens with glitters and little cute stuff floating back and forth!

Actually the one who enjoyed this the most after was my 7 month old Anna. Joshua continued with making a second bottle! It’s a great activity with wonderful creative sensory bottle!


Of Banana and sticks

Fine Motor skills are important to our toddlers. It just helps them strengthen those hand and arm muscles. It also practices hand and eye coordination. 

I find myself musing on what activity Joshua should do so he can practice his fingers and also get an experiential learning experience. So I started with the banana. Using a table knife, I would ask Joshua to slice into smaller pieces the banana and of course he has to eat these small pieces. 

   
 
These activity teaches him to control his hand muscle and also to accurately slice without touching his little fingers. He loved slicing, that he felt like he wanted more than just banana to slice.

Another activity for fine motor is getting those pick up sticks for practice.  I get a paper cup and mark the bottom with black dots. From the black dots, I create holes at the top with a safety pin or needle.  Then I get a pick up stick and make the holes big enough to slide the stick through.  Draw a little face of the cup and you will see that as your child places a stick on each hole, he adds colored hair to the face! 

   
 
Another home made innovation I did was with a box of Joshua’s toys. It was meant to be thrown but instead I decided to cover it with colored paper. At the top lid of the box I  drew a face of a little bear. I made horizontal slit as the mouth so that the Popsicle stick can fit. 

   
  
In this game, I make Josh feed the bear with Popsicle sticks. He would slip the sticks through the mouth of the bear. He was so happy he could actually feed the bear. He continued playing “feed this bear” game for hours and even days! By doing so, he actually does fine motor skills.

  
I thank God because these activities are all done at home and are very simple. No need of elaborate materials — I honestly just recycle and upcycle stuff I see at home. These activities are so fun and easy but have great benefits for those little fingers of our 2 year olds!