Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Favorite Toys

In this day and age where practically everything runs on some sort of electricity, I've taken a special liking to toys that run, not on batteries, but on the children's imagination.

They say that the best toys are those that do not do anything on their own, and I agree.  And I kinda think that my kids approve as well.  Their building blocks, wooden blocks, puzzles and smart cubes are their constant favorites and they never seem to run out of ideas playing with them.  Never mind if they've had these since they were a year old - they never seem to go out of style.  Battery operated toys often loose their calling after a while and more often than not, we end up with corroded batteries.

Stuffed toys?  Please, give us a break!!!  I have half the mind to donate their stuffed animals because of all the dust that they accumulate (hello allergies!) except that I'm forced to keep them for now for sentimental reasons.  We have tons of elephants right now that even I can't seem to part with.  So for now, I will have to make do with keeping them in a large plastic bin until I finally figure out what to do with them.

Meanwhile, I'm dreaming of adding more to their collections.  I wouldn't mind adding their sets of building blocks, Legos and puzzle sets (the more the merrier!) because every time they start playing with it, they keep coming up with more and more imaginative ways to build and create.

smart cubes, construction toys, legos, puzzles and any kind of wooden blocks
never go out of style as far as these 2 are concerned

magnetic alphabets come in handy not only to teach spelling and reading but also for sorting excercises

shape sorters can teach you shapes, colors, patters while developing motor skills.
OC Alert! Notice how someone has to make sure that the shapes are all aligned

wooden/plastic puzzles - it doesn't matter if they are the cheap ones from Divi, my kids can play with these for hours

from developing creativity to problem solving to motor skills - all in just one toy

Christmas is fast approaching... what about you?  What's your favorite toys?

Monday, September 29, 2014

She Isn't Scary, She's Just a Little Girl

This entry is a take - off from this article from Huffington Post that I could absolutely relate to.  I'd recommend that you take the time to read it as well.  

Sometimes I can really be mean, especially when it has to do with defending the people that I care about.  During this particular incident, I was feeling evil.  Actually, I can blame the heat and fatigue on this one - after all, walking around campus under the mid-day sun, chasing after 2 children who want to go in different directions isn't exactly a calming experience - particularly if you've had little sleep the night before.  But if I had to be honest to myself, I know that these are but lame excuses for a situation that could have been handled better.  Lest I digress even further, let's go back to my original story....

Last week was the school fair of Kuya and as a tradition in their school, each class organizes a get-together for all the family members of each section.  That Saturday was our scheduled get-together (or salu-salo) so we brought Nina along so that she could also enjoy the different rides and game booths and meet her big brother's classmates as well.

Sometime that morning, Kuya and Dad were in line for the Octopus but Nina and I had to sit that one out (she wasn't allowed, and I am petrified of heights).  I decided to bring her around to check the tiangge stalls in the cafeteria but as we were going around, I noticed 3 boys (probably in Grade 3 or 4) in front of us who were looking and whispering to each other while pointedly looking at Nina.  

I was half afraid that they would say something mean but perhaps seeing that she was with an adult, they kept whatever it was they were saying to themselves.  Still, I couldn't help myself.  My evil twin reared its head and took over from where sensibility and tact decided to take a hike.  I could actually feel the hair at the back of my neck raising out of annoyance at these kids so in a voice loud enough for them to hear, I said:  "Look Nina, those boys are looking at you.  Say "hi" to them!"  

I meant to catch them off guard, and I probably did.  They moved away but continued whispering and looking back.  So I decided to trail them and then called the attention of the boy closest to me by lightly touching his shoulder (kalabit is a more accurate term except that there seems to be no appropriate english translation for it) and then called out: "You keep looking at her, do you want to say hi?"  Nina, say hi to them!"  

As expected, they ran off without a word.  1 point for mom!  I had a smug look on my face and my daughter... well let's just say that she was probably wondering what that was all about.  Thank God she was oblivious to what was going on.

In hindsight, I know I could probably have taken a more mature stance of dealing with it.  (Although I hope to God that He wouldn't think that I need more practice and send another similar incident my way anytime soon.)  Maybe when I get better hold of my temper or perhaps when I can see that my daughter would be capable enough of defending herself, I will be able to come up with a witty remark that would give us the reaction that we hope for. But for now, I am grateful that at this point, my daughter remains unaffected by the stares and whispers of other children.  Although I know deep in my heart that it won't be like this forever, I pray that in time, we will be able to mold her to be strong and confident enough in herself to rise above those challenges. .

Sometimes, we are caught off guard by the comments our children make, especially towards individuals with special needs.  As a parent, I know that I should always be on my toes, always be prepared to guide my kids in being polite and in not being judgmental.  

I echo what Alice Ann Meyer said in her article:
"If you are the parent whose child says another child looks funny or scary, don't simply say, "That isn't a nice thing to say." While you are right, it's not nice, simply saying that and walking away still isolates my child. The next time follow that statement up and tell your child, "I'm sure he's a very nice boy, let's go meet him." Please, come introduce yourself and ask my child's name. I assure you, we don't bite! My child is just like yours; he can be sweet, loving, throw temper tantrums, and be a handful. And I assure you, I am just like you; I am a parent learning my way through this.
If your child is curious and doesn't say anything mean but still notices he looks different, please, introduce yourself to us, ask us our names! Include my child in your world. I promise you, he's not scary, he's just a little boy."
In our case, she's just a little girl - pretty much like any 5 year old little girl that you may know of.  When you see us, say "hello" and do get to know Nina better.  You'd be surprised at how she can quickly capture your heart.