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Mixed Mess Parenting Personal

Last Day at Eye Level + Nighttime Toilet Training

This post has been sitting in my… wait for it… drafts for way too long!

It’s been terribly hot this summer — where’s my summer breeze to make me feel fine? — but just last night, we had a strong thunderstorm. It was the same as the thunderstorm we had a couple of Saturdays ago where our electricity even got cut off for 5 hours.  And for the first time ever, our home office flooded (a little bit). Thank God it occurred to me to check the office just when the leaking started. (God has been giving me small reminders lately that went on to reveal bigger things. Thank you, Lord!)

I actually meant to post this almost a full month ago. For time reference, Yuri’s last day at Eye Level was on April 8th, and he got fully nighttime toilet-trained on April 13th.

Last Day at Eye Level

There’s nothing about Eye Level that both Yuri and I don’t love. Honest. I already made a proclamation of love here so I won’t go into details anymore. I just want to say that Yuri entered the enrichment centre literally illiterate (does that make sense? haha). Seriously. He just turned four then and before that, I didn’t think it was important to pressure him into learning how to read and write. After all, he wouldn’t be three forever.

(I have nothing against parents whose children were taught to read and write earlier. Different families, different priorities.)

By the time he turned four, though, I knew our time was up: he needed to learn how to read and write. When I enrolled Yuri to Eye Level’s English program May of 2016, he didn’t even know how to hold a pencil. After assessing him, we started at a pre-literacy level, where we even struggled with writing lines! I loved teaching Yuri, but for some reason, teaching him how to draw straight lines, crooked lines, and curves brought me at my wit’s end.

But after persevering, both in the centre and at home, suddenly Yuri was zooming through writing letters. We had to learn the correct strokes (I was lax at first but later learned to abide by the rules — penmanship does matter). At first, he got B’s and C’s on his booklets, but later on, they became all A’s. After several months, he was already on to reading and forming simple words.

From not knowing how to hold a pencil, he’s already writing and reading and spelling words.I know this is in no way an extraordinary feat, but for us, who started the year illiterate, this was amazing progress. And I credit much of it to Eye Level. The one-on-one hands-on sessions as well as the engaging activities and exercises helped a lot. 

Last day at Eye Level today 😭#sepanx

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However, Job and I, even though we are 101% satisfied with Eye Level, decided to pull Yuri out after 10 months of being with the learning centre. This is plainly because Yuri is about to enter formal schooling for the very first time in his life. We felt like we all needed a break from any sort of pressure and just focus on resting and transitioning to school life this summer. We didn’t even enrol him to any summer class this year. I also want Yuri to be able to focus on schooling alone when it starts. By the time he adjusts to our new routines, we may come back to Eye Level. This time, we will be going for Math instead of English. Who knows?

Nighttime Toilet Training Saga

My mother has been nagging me about this for so long. You see, even though Yuri got successfully potty-trained before he turned 2, he has still been wearing pull-ups at night. I don’t know; I just felt like he wasn’t ready yet. Each morning, he wakes up with a full pull-up and he does pee a lot at night. In the early days, I tried having him wear his cloth diapers at night. But barely an hour into sleep, he wakes up because it’s already full of pee. So I just shrugged nighttime toilet training off and waited until he was ready.

I knew he was ready a couple of weeks before he turned five. He still wakes up with a wet pull-up but that’s because he pees upon waking up. It’s also the perfect timing because it’s summer and he pees a lot less during the summer. But then, we travelled and I felt like it wasn’t the best time to toilet train. We were sleeping in a hotel room on a hotel bed, after all! I just didn’t want to risk it.

Heels over head 😂

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When we got back from our vacation, I waited for the next long weekend to come. It happened to be the weekend of the Holy Week. Our first night of no-pull ups happened on the night of Maundy Thursday. I just followed the basic pieces of advice: not giving too much liquid at night and peeing before bedtime. That’s it.

And it was a success! I didn’t get to sleep much that night, though. I was so paranoid he would wet the bed so I kept waking up to check. Nonetheless, he woke up with the bed fully dry and the first thing he did was pee. Teehee. It really does make a difference to wait until the child is ready.


My takeaway from this mothering experience? There’s no competition when it comes to nighttime toilet training. After all, it’s a bodily function that is not easily controllable. We might have used up more pull ups than kids who got toilet trained earlier, but it’s okay. There’s no use pressuring a child who just couldn’t keep his bed dry because he can’t help it. Because I decided to wait until I was sure Yuri was ready, he didn’t have to feel pressured or frustrated. Because we waited, nighttime toilet training for us was super easy, stress-free, and tear-free!

Actually, come to think of it, this can be applied to teaching literacy, too! In other words, raising a child shouldn’t be a competition.

Birthday Lifestyle Yurisms

Yuri Turns 5

It’s been a full month since Yuri’s party! And I have a looot of drafts in my backlog. #mustfindtimetoblog

Anyway…

I can’t believe I already have a 5-year old!

Wasn’t it just yesterday when I had a semi-permanently attached baby to my boobies?!

Yuri’s real birthday was on March 26, but we were scheduled to be out of town on that date so his birthday celebration was held a week earlier. It was a truly intimate party (yes, a McDonald’s party can be intimate because they only require a minimum of 10 people!) where I invited people close to us. Continue Reading

Homeschooling Lifestyle Parenting School

On the Fence About Homeschooling

I missed the local homeschooling conference in Davao City last weekend.

I had really planned to go, but during the last few months, we’ve been on the fence about homeschooling. I can talk about the benefits of homeschooling and how homeschooling has helped Yuri grow for hours — and really, I still believe them to be true — but the other side of the truth is that we don’t think it’s going to work for us next year.

Despite the schedule that I had established in the beginning of this school year, we haven’t been able to follow it. Because of my busy schedule, juggling work, real estate events, blogging, family, household chores, and my personal life, homeschooling just slid down the list of my priorities.

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Hear me out. I’m a full-time working single mum whose partner lives and works over 5,000 miles across the globe. I don’t have household help. Everyday I do not only take care of Yuri; I also assist the rest of the family, especially my dad who undergoes dialysis twice a week. I planned to homeschool after work, but most of the time, the only thing I want to do after I’m done with work is to rest.

I don’t think I can do it next year. Continue Reading

Parenting Personal

The Tale of Yuri’s First Sick Day

Oh thank God for sick leaves.

I’m blogging now because I found some time to do so because, well, I’m on leave and Yuri’s sleeping. Just a little segue before I continue. I miss this! I miss being able to write about the most mundane things. A few years back, I blogged almost everyday (that was when I had a yaya and a helper) – a luxury I can no longer afford these days. I’m lucky if I’m able to write twice a week. Sometimes, wala talaga. And I miss being able to let the words flow like no one’s reading!

It’s the second (and last) day of my sick leave actually but I’m not the one who’s sick. It’s Yuri. It’s kinda a big deal for me because, not counting his first days on earth (he swallowed his meconium in utero so he had to be confined in the NICU for a week), this is the first time he’s like seriously sick.

His fever began Tuesday afternoon, just a couple of hours after getting home from enrichment school (Eye Level). It was also the first time I was able to drive him to and from school so I thought it was my fault lol.

Yeah, for what it's worth? Achievement unlocked!

Yeah, for what it’s worth? Achievement unlocked!

Anyway, I let the fever run its course (while giving him paracetamol) and kept him hydrated because it’s what I usually do. However, by Wednesday morning, I had to take a leave from work because his fever rose to 38 degrees. But by Wednesday afternoon, his temperature was back to 36 degrees so we even took him with us when we went to the airport to fetch a relative.

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He was still eating Pepero then

But Yuri wasn’t his active self by evening. We had dinner at Bistro Selera, but he didn’t eat anything. He tried to eat a spoonful of rice and crispy pata (yasss) but he cried saying it was too painful to swallow. I took his temperature (yes I bring a digital thermometer with me…) and it was 37.6 degrees. I had to send another message to our office manager, asking for another day of leave because I knew I had to take him to the doctor na. Continue Reading

Health and Fitness Parenting

Our 3 Must-Haves For Fighting Flu

It’s flu season again!

Actually, we (at least in our household) get flu throughout the year, but the intense weather — hot days alternating with gloomy, rainy days — take toll on our immune system so we catch a cold more often these months. In fact, I am coughing while typing this, while Yuri is sneezing. Boo!

He had to miss school the other day. So I'm posting this picture of Yuri appreciating his "Good Job" stamp from last week instead.

He had to miss school the other day. So I’m posting this picture of Yuri appreciating his “Good Job” stamp from last week instead.

So on the onset of July (which also happens to be the month when dengue cases escalate!), I make sure I have these three flu-fighters at home:

1. Vitamins

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Better safe than sorry, they say, and I believe so. I’d rather take a couple of minutes each day making sure that we all have taken vitamins than regret not doing so!

Wert Philippines has been sending us Nutri-10 Plus vitamins since last year, and these have undoubtedly help made Yuri grow bigger and stronger. I also believe the nutrients in Nutri-10 plus, especially its Vitamin C content, help Yuri get tougher when it comes to fighting flu and cold. It still happens, but they’re almost always manageable.

2. Calamansi

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Homeschooling Preschool School

Our Homeschool Preschool Routine – A Day in the Life

Homeschool Preschool Routine

I’m very new to homeschooling.

Prior to this year, we’ve never done formal homeschooling. But now that he’s 4, we decided to formalise it (on a certain level) by following a regular homeschool routine and teaching specific subjects and lessons. (Note: We’re homeschooling independently.)

And even though we are so new to this, I’ve already gotten several questions asking me how we do it. First of all, I try not to pressure myself and Yuri. If I’m feeling tired from work or household chores, I call it a day and we just play instead. If I sense that Yuri’s not in the mood for pencil work, I let him paint or draw or whatever he likes.

I don’t shy away from technology either. We use 2, no 3 free websites to supplement our lessons (I’ll write about them too for everyone who’s interested).

Now, here’s our specific routine from sun up to sun down: Continue Reading

Homeschooling Lifestyle Preschool Science Experiments

How to Make Oobleck: The Not Quite Liquid, Not Quite Solid Slime

On weekends, we do science experiments!

Ideally, we should be doing science experiments on Fridays since it was what I wrote in our original homeschool schedule. However, I kinda feel bad for letting Yuri do school work on a Friday especially when all the other kids in the village are already playing in the playground.

(Note: Our homeschool session begins at 4 pm after my work ends.)

So on Fridays, I just let Yuri play or, in the case of the past 2 weeks, let him come with his iya (lola) to the mall to do some grocery shopping. Then on weekends, when we have afternoons free, we spend some time doing simple science experiments AKA magic!

Our most recent experiment? The Oobleck! It’s a kind of slime (named after a Dr Seuss character) that is not quite liquid and not quite solid. It is liquid in its relaxed state but, when you apply pressure unto it, it turns solid. My junior high school sister had performed this experiment at school in the past and was really eager to recreate it at home with me and Yuri. Cool beans!

Ingredients:

  1. Water
  2. Corn Starch
  3. Container (we used a heart-shaped pan for the cuteness factor but you can use anything at all)
  4. Food Colouring (optional)

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Homeschooling Preschool School

The First Week of Homeschool Preschool

We survived our first week of homeschooling!

In fairness, I didn’t even feel it. Each day, after work, whenever I take out Yuri’s stuff to begin our “session,” he was always eager to trace his letters, practice his numbers, or his favourite, do some colouring.

Colouring is my secret weapon. If a session is met with resistance, I get him to start colouring a page. After that, he normally doesn’t mind doing more serious work. Then the hour (or hour and a half, depending on his mood) passes by without me noticing.

Here are some pictures from our first week of homeschool preschool:

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I know Yuri looks oh so serious in the pictures above, but he’s actually goofy and silly half of the time lol. I just wait for the serious moments before I capture a picture haha. Seriously though, I don’t want to be too strict on him. As much as possible, I don’t want him to view school work as a chore but as something he genuinely enjoys doing.

So whenever he draws way too long lines on purpose or insist on doing upper case letters first, I try my very best not to be frustrated (people close to me know how easily frustrated I am haha). I gently remind him that there is a proper way of doing things and, well, hope I make sense to a four year old.

Homeschool Preschool Routine

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Homeschooling Lifestyle Parenting

Homeschool Preschool Supplies!

Hi! It’s the third day of our homeschool preschool!

I mentioned in a previous post that I’m as woefully unprepared as I can be. I didn’t do prior research on homeschool preschool curricula (though I was obsessed about them 2 years ago, if that helps…) and didn’t bother preparing a dedicated homeschool area (the home office was a disaster area). Until yesterday, we were just using the kitchen and the living room and the kitchen, but I don’t think the boy even noticed. But I cleared up my half of the home office this afternoon so we’ll probably be able to use it from now on.

Good thing we have homeschool supplies. A lot of them.

Over the years, I’ve collected several workbooks and educational books aside from the classics and picture books. I had also received a couple of Buriboxes (planning to subscribe to more in the coming months), so we have collected art materials.

For those planning to homeschool their preschoolers too (it’s never too late to start homeschooling — that’s one beauty of it!), here’s a list of our homeschool preschool supplies.

Primary Supplies

Preschool Supplies

  1. Pencils
  2. Erasers
  3. Sharpener
  4. Pencil Box
  5. Crayons
  6. Scissors
  7. Glue

Writing/Reading

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Homeschooling Lifestyle Preschool

Homeschool Preschool, Here We Come!

I had meant to homeschool Yuri for the last, err, 2 years.

Sadly, it never became a top priority for me mainly because Yuri was still too little to pay attention to school “work.” In the past, homeschooling just meant reading books, learning new words, seeing new sights, travelling — basically trying to grasp every teachable moment.

All of a sudden, Yuri is 4 and I couldn’t anymore rely on just catching teachable moments as they go. We initially planned to enrol Yuri in a “real school” this year. However, because of reasons I detailed in this post last month, the real-preschool-plan was promptly scrapped. We were suddenly back to our original plan, which is to homeschool… and I am woefully unprepared.

Thanks a lot to regular enrichment classes from Eye Level (!), Yuri already has had a head start. Whew.

After-school frozen yoghurt pops! #wahmlife #homeschool #preschooler #toddlerlife

A photo posted by Marie Angeli Laxa (@maanlaxa) on

In all honesty, I still haven’t found the time to prepare a meticulous curriculum. It’s funny because when Yuri was 2 years old, I spent almost all of my free time researching on homeschool curricula that we could use. In my old laptop, I even had a spreadsheet comparing and contrasting the curricula. Yes I was very OA, yet we didn’t even get to homeschool haha!

(In my defence hehe, I attended a seminar on homeschooling and was told that it’s too early to formally homeschool 2 and 3 year olds.)

Now that it’s time for real homeschool, I’m caught unprepared! We haven’t begun yet even though it’s already the end of everyone else’s first week of school. Then again, two years ago, when I was very vigilant, I was a freelancer who had a yaya. Now I have a regular 8-5 job — and a real estate broker on weekends — who is yaya-less and helper-less. But I’m confident that we’ll soon get the hang of it — as soon as I am able to organise a proper schedule. I’m procrastinating, help!

Anyway, in contrast to two years ago, when I had a full list of homeschool supplies to buy and several printables to print, right now, all I have are Yuri’s unopened preschool workbooks which I have collected over time (I told you I was OA!). The great thing is that they’re really helpful.

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Elections Events Mixed Mess Parenting Preschool School

Messy Weekend: Elections + Mother’s Day + Yuri’s First Day of School!

WOW!

What a weekend!

It’s already Tuesday evening and I’m still reeling over the weekend that transpired. I don’t think I ever had a weekend as busy and brimming as this one. Well, maybe except Christmas and New Year. But that’s another story. Let’s talk about the weekend that was. Here’s a photo diary!

Enrolment + Trip to the Dentist

Eye Level Davao

We liked Eye Level so much that we decided to go back last Saturday to enrol. Yuri’s excited to attend sessions!

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After going to Eye Level, we went to our family dentist’s clinic to have Yuri’s teeth checked. It was Yuri’s very first time to visit the dentist so he wasn’t comfortable sitting on the dentist’s chair yet. So I sat down and sat him on my lap while our dentist prodded at his mouth. He has one cavity that needs filling up and we’re going back this Saturday. Good luck teh.

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Homeschooling Parenting Personal

Adulting Tuesday!

Hey guys!

Yesterday I took a leave from work to do mummy duties AKA:

  1. Take Yuri to his pedia
  2. Take Yuri to our family dentist
  3. Take Yuri to Eye Level in Bajada, Davao for his diagnostic test
Selfie of an adult (Because a caption that reads "adult selfie" would mean another thing)

Selfie of an adult (Because a caption that reads “adult selfie” would mean another thing)

Well, we spent the entire morning downtown but only number 3 was a success (relatively). Here’s why.

I did not set appointments.

I have an A-type personality so I almost always never leave the house unless a sure appointment has been set. However, when I lost my phone a few months back, I also lost all of my contact numbers, which include my doctors’ contact numbers. The phone numbers I saw from the internet were also outdated. So we decided to wing it. Continue Reading

Blogger Perks Homeschooling Parenting

Unboxing the February Buribox

Buribox

What better way to spend the weekend than to read books and make crafts with your noisy toddler?

Thanks to Buribox by Adarna House, this is not just possible but easy. It’s amazingly easy because all you need to do is open a box and — voila! — everything you need is there.

We received our first Buribox last October thanks to Janice Lim of TheRollerCoasterRide.com. Then it was my turn to share the blessings with five other mums. Of course, I had mine, too — the February edition of the Buribox. Yay!

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This time, the Buribox’s theme is emotions and facial expressions and Yuri and I had a blast! Here are the contents before anything else:

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Lifestyle Parenting Yurisms

There’s a Four-Year Old in the House!

Hey guys! How was your long weekend? Mine went smoothly, and last Saturday, I suffered sugar-overload because it was Yuri’s birthday!

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I’m pretty sure I just closed my eyes for a moment and then all of a sudden, I have a four-year old child!

What sorcery is this?

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Well, it’s not as if I didn’t see it coming. Everyday, I’m in awe of his new entertaining antics and — ehem — tactics to get what he want. But my favourite thing about being a mummy to a constantly curious toddler is the company.

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You see, I’m a WAHM in a long-time long-distance relationship. Because of the nature of my job, I communicate with my colleagues “remotely” and my friends have super busy work and family schedules. (I have colleagues here in Davao City; unfortunately, they live in the South while I reside in the North. If you have any idea how big this city is, you would know that going from the North to the South is pretty much like going to another city.)

When Yuri was still a baby, being with him just seemed like a chore. I have no shame in admitting it — the same way as I can shamelessly say now that he looked like an old man when he was a few days old hahaha. (To be fair, my younger sister did look like an alien… I’m pretty sure I looked funny as a newborn too…) Anyway, yes I had my in-love-with-my-baby moments but most of the time, like when he was nursing or napping in my already sore arms, time just seemed to pass so slowly. Sorry baby, it’s true 😛

But ever since he turned 3, he’s become the perfect companion-slash-bodyguard for me. He accompanies me walking around the village or going grocery-shopping. He doesn’t stop talking and I’m sure many of you mums of toddlers can relate to this! We can talk about anything and everything under the sun and somehow, our topics almost always takes the absurd turn. Not a problem at all!

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Parenting Yurisms

There is a Sleepyhead in My Bed and It’s Not Me

I realise I still have a lot of blog backlog from last year (gee, where did my Christmas vacation go? I planned to spend that vacation writing…) but I just want to indulge in one more mindless (yet meaningful) post before I officially deal with the pile.

I have come into terms with the fact that Yuri, who will be turning 4 in a couple of months (ZOMG!), is a sleepyhead.

He started sleeping through the night near the end of his 3rd month as a wee infant. Before you envy me, let me assure you that before that fateful night, I barely slept at all. By the time he was 4 months old, we were almost always sleeping through the night and, save for those few nights when he would wake up and not return to sleep or when I discovered a new book I just couldn’t put down, I recaptured the elusive eight hours of sleep. More or less.

Let me digress for a bit. I have two favourite moments of the day. One is his afternoon nap and the other is his sleeptime. It’s during those times when I can focus on what I want to do (blog, write, do some calligraphy, update my planner). Of course, most of the time, when Yuri sleeps, I either watch TV, browse Facebook, or catch some Z’s myself hehe.

Anyway, as he gets older, I noticed that Yuri’s sleeping hours have become longer. For example, just the other day, he slept for twelve hours — and would have slept longer had I not woken him up. In my defence, it was already almost 9 am and the sunlight streaming through our bedroom window was too warm it wasn’t funny anymore.

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