The Truth About Having Kids

I have never been more tired physically, than I am, right now that I have a 1 year old toddler and a 4 year old preschooler.

My day is basically all about running around the house making sure my youngest, Mileina, doesn’t get bruised by practicing how to run. Yes, before she even mastered walking, she already started running, which is terrifying! (If you know what I mean).

I am tired.

Sometimes all I want to do is play with Matilda, my eldest. I just want to have quiet conversations with her, without a toddler who keeps on pulling up my shirt wanting to breastfeed, in between her walk-a-thon.

I am tired.

I just want to drink a cup of coffee while it’s hot and not forget about it, because I need to assist my children with their trips to the bathroom.

I am tired.

I would like to enjoy my meals uninterrupted by food that is falling, and water that keeps on spilling everywhere.

I am tired.

There are so many things I want to organize for homeschooling, that I just cannot finish, moreso, even begin. Did I say homeschooling? Yes, add in our daily lessons too!

I am tired.

I just want to lie down, have my quiet time, read my Bible, also a good book too, take a very nice long bath, get a straight 6-8 hour of solid sleep, not minding what time I should wake up in the morning.

My body is tired. My back feels like breaking. My arms are sore from all the carrying. Physically, my body might be at one of its weakest, in terms of its condition, but you know what? My heart is happy. My heart is full of JOY.

I am happy.

For when I look at the miracle of having my children, I am reminded of how God has been so gracious to me and Joey for entrusting to us the lives of our children.

I am happy.

For all the milestones I am able to see with each of them, it validates that I am doing something right.

I am happy.

For as young as 4 years old, Matilda understands who Jesus is and what He has done for us sinners, that He chose to bear our sins and die on our behalf, so that we can be saved.

I am happy.

For all the hugs and kisses I get to have every moment of every day.

I am really happy.

These are just some of the things that go through my mind, as I think about what my life is like, now that I have two kids. It’s not an easy job taking care of one, let alone two of them. Motherhood, after all, is about teaching them, disciplining them and most of all, discipling them. Sometimes, it just really takes it toll on my body. Don’t get me wrong though, I am not tired of having kids, there are just times I get physically exhausted with all the things I do for them every day. There are days wherein they do cooperate more than the usual, you know? And those days are VERY precious to me.

In the most challenging times of parenting, I am reminded and comforted by this verse,

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

No matter how tired I feel I am at times, never will I wish it any other way, for the amount of joy my children bring into my life is truly incomparable. So, to say that I am happy is an understatement. In fact, I have never been happier!! Thank you Lord, for the blessing of having children!

The Biblical Aspect of Discipline

Matilda now at 2 years and 4 months old, has become very much curious in everything. A normal toddler just like her, has the ability to make her parents joyful and disappointed all at the same time. Well, that’s really how raising a child goes, don’t you agree?

Ever since Matilda was still in my tummy, we have always contemplated on how we will be able to raise her as a Godly child. I, myself, for example, wasn’t raised in a Christian home, but Joey on the other hand was. He grew up a fine man, with respect toward authorities, and has been very obedient to rules, whether set by his parents, in school, and now, as a professional. I praise God for how he was brought up to be the man he has become.

I know A LOT of people will take this post negatively. You might think that what I am about to tell you is some form of child abuse. You might even misjudge me for being impatient and worse, a bad parent. But don’t you worry, I have been judged way too many times with how I am raising my child, and honestly, it is just us, her parents, who reap all the benefits that Biblical Discipline has given her. And soon, as she grows up to be the woman she is bound to become, I know she will be grateful for it, just like her Papa is, to his parents.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)

As Christians, we are commanded in the Bible to train and discipline our children. This means, we as parents, are fully responsible in how we will be raising God-fearing, obedient and respectful kids. Ever wondered why your kid suddenly became so disobedient? That even though no one taught them to say no, or do the opposite of what was asked of them, they still grow up doing EXACTLY that? Why do you think children are so entitled thinking they should always have it their way, or else they will give you such a hard time pacifying them? Well, this verse clearly states the reason why.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15 NASB)

What is this “foolishness” the Bible is talking about? Because of The Fall of Man, we have all become sinners in the eyes of our God. We have all been sinful even while we were inside the womb of our mothers. This means, we are to commit these sins even as children. And the most common of these are Disobedience and Disrespect.

Now that Biblically, I am painting this picture for you to understand why discipline is necessary, knowing the basis and background as to why children are really born to be like that, let us now go back to how we enforce this to our Matilda.

On the second part of the verse above, it says, The rod of discipline will remove it (foolishness) far from him. What is this “rod” we are talking about here? The rod is an object we use for spanking. It may actually be anything, but for us, we use the belt.

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24 NIV)

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11 NIV)

We discipline by spanking because we believe that it is what God wants us to do. The Bible’s credibility cannot be questioned because of its infallibility and inerrancy. Did you know that from Genesis to Revelation, there is not even one contradicting statement in the Scripture? It’s one of the many reasons, apart from History, great amount of evidences, fulfilled prophecies and promises, and so on, why we believe it’s true. That it is in fact, the Word of God. And because of our faith in Him, we should obey His Word.

Since we realized the gravity that disciplining a child entails, we then started seeking God’s word. We wanted to learn even more from Him, on how we can raise a Godly child in order that we may bring all the Glory back to Him as we raise her. We also got the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart (where most of the principles written here are derived from), which explains our role as parents, and how we can be intentional in molding the heart of our child. It all begins from the heart, the behavior of your child is an overflow of the heart.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. (Luke 6:45 NLT)

Discipline is not an easy task. It takes a great amount of patience to be able to get it right. You see, we should never spank in anger. Children will know when you are angry, they will remember this, and it will give a negative effect in the implementation of discipline. In fact, being angry in itself is already sinful. Being angry, usually when we don’t have it our way is considered unholy anger, but to be angry at the sin in itself, knowing that this specific sin is never tolerated by God, and it makes you upset, that is holy anger. Always make sure your heart is on the right place. So, when do we spank? And how do we begin to do it?

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James 1:19-20)

First of all, for a child to know the concept of obedience, we must instill this to them at a very young age. If I remember correctly, I started talking to Matilda about obedience when she was around 6-7 months old. Around this time, they already show their very distinct behavior. When you observe them play, interact with others, eat, or even during idle time, you will notice their character slowly forming. With Matilda, I began by getting her familiar with the word “obey”. I would always remind her this whenever I attend to her. For example, during diaper changes. Babies can be very irritable especially when you put them down for this. So what I do is, I look her in the eyes and say, “Matilda, you have to stay still and behave, I am going to change your diaper. You have to OBEY Mommy.” I tell her this, every opportunity I get, with a firm voice. It may be during play time as well. Like when she started dropping her toys from the crib to the floor, I would remind her, “Matilda, the floor is dirty, if you want to play with your toys some more, you have to keep them in your crib. You have to OBEY Mommy.” These are just some instances, so you would have an idea. And this advice was something I learned from Deonna Tan-Chi when we attended a Parenting Seminar at CCF, called Counterflow.

You have to understand something, babies are very smart. They can already comprehend even when they can’t talk yet. So, never underestimate their capability to understand and never get tired of explaining to them these things. As for Matilda, we knew she could very well understand us at around 9-10 months. It was the time we started contemplating that it may be good to start spanking. Just so you know, we spank only on two occasions, and that is when she disobeys or disrespects us. The moment she defies our authority, we administer spanking. So here’s how.

Knowing FULL well that Matilda understood that she had to obey and instead she still defied us, we would get her and bring her to a private place (for us it’s our other room where we store our things). I put her on my lap and talk to her. I would remind her of what she did, explain to her why it was wrong and reinforce that she had to obey. I would then tell her that I would need to spank her because it is what God wants me to do in order to discipline her. I’d go on and tell her how many swats she’ll get, (we do just one) and then I proceed by telling her I love her, and that I am doing this for her own good, so that next time, she would learn to OBEY. Next is to put down her pants, and lay her face down on my lap, her bottom exposed. I would get the belt and give one swat. One is enough for us because I do it effectively. It should be hard and painful but not to the point the skin breaks. (With us, her skin usually turns red for a while). And then I immediately put on her pants and hug her tight. I console her from the pain, and then reassure her of my love. When she is already calm and collected, we say a prayer together.

For the first few times we did this, it was very, very difficult. I cried with Matilda at the sight of seeing her in pain. I also had a hard time accepting my responsibility to enforce discipline and have not been consistent at it. Those inconsistencies brought confusion in Matilda and I realized I am making it even more difficult for her, because she couldn’t get the message clearly. Although, remembering all the promises in the Bible gave me peace knowing that what I am doing is God’s will, and His will is always good. Also, knowing the fact that I am just His agent, whom He expects to do his duty, I, myself, am bound to obey. So, I then made it a point to consciously be on the lookout for circumstances wherein discipline should be enforced, and did it consistently this time around.

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.(Ephesians 6:1-3)

I praise God that we are now even more blessed to have Matilda understand the gravity of obedience and respect. She is growing up to be a good little girl who listens and obeys without question, challenge or delay. Sure, there are still moments wherein she fails, and acts differently, but those times are now becoming very rare. As of this moment, I can no longer remember the last time I spanked her. This is the exact validation how we know, we are on the right track. As I have said in the beginning of this post, we do this because we believe that this is our duty as parents. God entrusted us with a child who will someday become of influence to this world. It is a big responsibility to be able to bring her up in the fear of the Lord, so that someday, she will be useful for the glory of His kingdom. Discipline is not easy and without God’s grace, we wouldn’t be able to do it effectively. It is our prayer as parents, that Matilda will remember the principles we are instilling in her young mind, and then hopefully apply it, as she grows.

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. (Proverbs 29:17 ESV)

How is the heart of your child? Have you been diligent in disciplining them? If so, are you happy with the result? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

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Potty Training 101

It was not my absolute intention to actually start potty training our then 22-month old Matilda. It also came as a big surprise that she just began telling me she wanted to go and make wiwi. Well, we have been using cloth diapers since she was 3 months old and I think that is one of the reasons why potty training was a breeze for us.

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With any child, I think, it is actually recommended that they have nappy-free time, also known as presko time. This enables their skin to breathe, to avoid rashes or skin irritation. We started having longer presko time since she turned around 18 months. I allowed her to be in her underwear while playing on the floor. Because she didn’t know when to go yet at that time, she would usually wet her undies and then what I always told her was this, “Uh-oh look, baby, you made wiwi. Come, let’s have you cleaned up”. This wasn’t an everyday thing. Since we travel a lot, we just got to do this whenever we were at home.

It was one evening when we were on our home from my husband’s workplace, that I intentionally removed her wet diaper, and did not bother putting on a replacement. I thought, we’re almost home anyway so I’ll jusy clean her up when we get there. Upon arriving home though, I got a little busy dealing with some mess in the room and totally forgot that she was diaper-free. Tired from the day’s activities, I settled on the bed and watched her play and roam around the room. Suddenly, I noticed she was becoming uneasy and that’s when I realized, she wasn’t wearing a diaper! In which, it led me to ask her this, “Baby you want to go make wiwi?”, I got so surprised when she actually said, “Yes, mommy, wiwi.” I immediately brought her to the restroom, (praying she would make it) and there, she made her very first successful “wiwi-moment” in the toilet. Can you imagine what I felt at that time? If you are a parent, you’d very well understand. I honestly felt like I won the lottery! I felt so proud of her and I was almost teary eyed as I realized, she’s really no longer a baby.

So for the benefit of my fellow-mothers, I decided to write about how our potty training experience came to be and the tips and tricks that I think worked well for us.

Embrace the mess!

I believe allowing her to have diaper-free times sent her the message clearly, that if you do not hold your pee and go to the toilet, then you’d get yourself wet with your own pee. Eww, I know! But it really works! I just constantly reminded her that the next time she want’s to go, she has to inform me. (Yes, babies do understand. Never underestimate them!)

Having been on cloth diapers also made her more aware of this because when cloth diapers are full, it usually leaks and the baby feels the wetness. I made it a point to actually tell her every time that her diaper leaked, that the feeling she is experiencing is called wetness. This is why I like cloth, it doesn’t turn your child’s urine into a scary gel, full of chemicals.

Communicate with your child

As I have mentioned above, it would be great to start teaching your babies about the feeling of wetness. Once they understand this concept, it would be easier for you both to understand each other. Do not give up on your child even though they sometimes think they want to pee, but doesn’t. Or sometimes they would only tell you AFTER they have finished. That is totally okay and normal. It is part of the experience and it is the only way they will actually learn. Also, remember to complement them whenever they try to do it right even though they make mistakes sometimes. It boosts their self-esteem. And you know, kids have this nature that they want to impress their parents. Make it a point to show them your appreciation.

No pressure, no rush!

Most of the time, parents (moms in particular) set certain standards for their child’s milestones. It’s always, “She has to be able to do this and that at this age.”, and so on and so forth. Hey you, (yes you) parenting isn’t a battle. It is never your child versus my child. “My child can do this, yours can do that.” Come on! Can we just stop and observe our own kids? Can you just wait until they are ready? Potty training isn’t a race. Children develop at their own pace so please save your energy and just stop comparing. Allow your child to reach their milestone in their own time. Believe me, they will get there when they are READY.

Set an example

I think one other thing that really helped us is that, because we don’t have a nanny, I always bring her with me to the toilet whenever I need to go. She sees me actually do it and I always explain to her what I am doing. I tell her the things she needs to do, like flush the toilet, and wash her hands afterwards. Again, I communicate to her so that she knows what I am doing, and also for her to understand the reasons why I have to do them.

Keep it real and simple

Because we didn’t really expect she’d be potty trained so soon, we weren’t actually prepared, or so I thought. I was on the impression that a potty was necessary, but I was wrong. We didn’t buy one and I just don’t see that it will be of help in any way now that we went through this whole process. I guess, it may be good for some and maybe it helps  in a way for children to feel that potty training is fun, but as I think of it, it might send them mixed signals, don’t you think? Well, someday they’d have to go into that regular, adult-sized toilet seat especially when you are out and about. And that specially cute potty might cause problems when they start looking for them whenever they want to go. I believe it is not only beneficial in terms of the budget, but it would also eliminate confusion for your child later on. Keep it simple and allow them to experience the reality that soon enough, they would be stuck to using the adult-size toilet anyway!

Be EXTRA patient

When starting out, expect that you will really have accidents. There will even be days they would forget, or sometimes they will not be able to hold it any longer, no matter how long they have been potty trained. Never let your child down or go crazy and start blaming them for it. Be kind and compassionate and show them that despite the untoward accident, you still love them and that you believe they will be able to do it right next time. Take it easy and give it a litte time for them to master it.

As I post this, Matilda is officially fully potty trained for 3 months now. I have also sold my cloth diaper stash to my fellow-moms – ouch! The cutest prints were very hard to let go! Anyway, I hope you will get my tips helpful and practical for potty training your kiddos. Just comment away for any questions or tips that I might have missed out, or wasn’t able to try, that may be beneficial to other moms as well.

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On Dealing With Bullies

My 23 month old toddler has become very active. She equally loves to play alone and also interact with other children. As her mom, I am very protective of her simply because she is my daughter. I love her and I believe that it is my responsibility to keep her away from harm or from harming others.

If it’s your first time to be reading my blog, let me share a brief background about what I do. I am a stay-at-home mom also known as a (plain) housewife. I personally look after my Matilda and we do not have a yaya. Because this is our set-up, I have seen how my daughter is at home as well as when we are out. I know her moods and I know everything there is about her. She is very kind – biases aside, it is the truth. By God’s grace, I try my best to discipline her and mold her to be Christ-like.

Like any other normal kid, she is always excited to see other children. One reason is that, it is mostly just the two of us who play with each other. So, whenever we have the chance to go to the Day Care at my husband’s workplace, we always make the most out of it.

The Day Care is just a simple play space with a slide, a pretend-house, and small tables with chairs, perfect for kids. Every morning, the teachers facilitate a circle time wherein they sing songs, dance and play with the kids – this is Matilda’s favorite part aside from going up and down the slide. We also love going because of the friends we have made there.

Almost all the kids are regulars, meaning they are there daily and are usually accompanied by their yayas. There are two very kind and loving teachers as well to keep the place organized, and also make sure the kids are well-behaved. But, sometimes, when there are plenty of kids and only one teacher is present, things can become a bit chaotic like this one day I will tell you about next.

About a week ago, on what is seemed like a regular day at the day care, a little boy aged 3 came in and was left by his mother. That day, if I remember correctly, he was the only kid without a yaya. According to the mom, as what the teacher also said, the kid will only be left for an hour, as the father will come to pick him up. It wasn’t the first time I met this little boy though. I have seen how he is when he is around, and I must say, the kid has the tendency to hurt other children, both big and small. So, I was on the lookout. I didn’t want Matilda to be hurt in any way so I made sure I was close by at all times.

In just a matter of 15 minutes, the little boy already started acting a bit too hard to control. The teacher kept reminding him to behave as there are babies around, playing. He kept on running, not minding anybody who he might bump into. I thought maybe he was just really excited, perhaps happy to be around other kids as well. The teacher then noticed that he is kind of too hyperactive so, she decided to get some toys for the boy to keep him busy, and placed him inside the house to play by himself for a little while. As I watched Matilda roam around, I happened to see she wanted to go inside the play house too. I let her walk her way through, confident that it was fine since I was right beside her. To my surprise, before getting to the entrance of the house, the little boy got a glimpse of Matilda and kicked her right at her tummy. It was all so sudden. I was shocked as I saw Matilda fall to the ground. My instinct was that I immediately held her and checked if she got hurt. I thanked God she was fine and saw that she was just a bit startled with what just happened.

If you are a mother, I am pretty sure you know how it must have felt like to see your baby get bullied right before your eyes. This was the very first time a kid hurt my child, though we had plenty of  “toy-grabbing” incidents before, this was probably the worst so far. I did what I knew what was right at that moment and approached the boy to ask for an apology. I told him that hurting others is wrong and he should never do that again. I appreciate the fact that the boy said sorry even though I knew he probably didn’t really mean it. I’m not even sure if he truly understood what I told him, rather, the gravity of what he did.

The teacher, yayas and other kids saw what happened and the teacher apologized to me, and I assured her that everything was okay. She must have felt bad and somewhat responsible for what happened even though it wasn’t her fault at all. Few minutes passed and then the father of the boy arrived. I asked him if he is the father (just to be extra sure) and told him these exact words, “Kayo po ba yung father ni (little boy’s name)? Sinipa kasi niya itong baby ko.” (Are you the father of (little boy’s name)? Because he kicked my little girl.). The father nodded his head, walked towards his son, asked if he apologized and told him not to do it again. After which, he sat down in one of the small chairs and started fiddling with his phone. He never approached me, did not even properly acknowledge what his son did, and worse, he did not even bother to look after his son the entire time. I must admit, I felt irritated with this. It felt as though it was something so casual that he did not even say anything. Nothing! How would you feel if you were me? I’m sure you’d feel really insulted.

Good thing though is that I was able to keep my cool and I just silently said a prayer. I prayed that God would help me control my emotions and that the Holy Spirit will fill me so that I will not do anything I would regret later on. Because I was upset, I just sent Joey a text message and told him about the incident. Only seconds after, Joey was already standing there looking for the little boy and his father. He asked which kid kicked Matilda in a firm voice as he approached his daughter. After hugging her and making sure she’s alright, he then asked again where the boy is. I told him it’s the one beside the teacher, who is patiently keeping him occupied to avoid another untoward incident. As you know, the father is so busy with his phone and this got Joey’s attention. He asked where the guardian of the boy is (again) but his father won’t respond. I’m not sure if it was because Joey’s voice wasn’t loud enough for him to hear or maybe he is just really focused with what he is doing. Joey then asked, “Sinong bantay nito?” (Who is this boy’s guardian?), referring to the boy beside him. It was only then the father looked up and said, “Pinagalitan ko na siya”. (I already scolded him.)Joey responded to him by saying, “Paki bantayan na lang mabuti, paki bantayan lang.” (Please just look after him, please watch him carefully.), in a very firm voice. I felt he was also insulted with the way the father answered. He did not even stand from the chair he is sitting on.

This scene that just happened caused a bit of tension inside the day care. I saw yayas began moving aside and talking quietly among each other of what they just witnessed. I saw a bit of panic in their eyes most especially the teacher who was in the middle of the confrontation. I guess she must have sensed that it isn’t the end of it all, yet. As it turns out, she was right. Moments after, the mom of the boy came in and asked casually about what happened. I was there beside the teacher waiting for her to apologize for how his son behaved. Although, just like her husband, she did not even acknowledge me at all. It was then I realized how much of an impact we have with the development of our children. How modeling affects their personality and character. If his parents are like this, how in the world will their son grow up to be?

You see, as parents, we have complete responsibility towards our children. These children were entrusted to us by God for this very main purpose – that we ought to teach them to love the Lord and to carefully follow all his commands as stated in the following verses:

Deuteronomy 6: 1-9 New International Version (NIV)

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

What is our DUTY as Parents?

We are to raise our kids in the fear of the Lord by following all his commands – so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you.

What do we get in return?

The blessing of being intentional in our parenting is that WE, as Parents will be rewarded according to God’s promise – so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey. 

Why should we follow what is said in the Bible?

Because the Bible is God’s word. Everything written in the Bible is revealed to us so that we will know who God is and how He can transform our lives.

I always say, my handbook on parenting is the Bible. I can never be a perfect mom, nor Joey as a father to Matilda. But, as Christians, we carefully train her to be God-fearing, and a child who loves the Lord. If we fail in this, it is us, the parents who will suffer eventually.

I know it won’t be the last time we will encounter a “bully’ and I also know that the character of every person is based on how he was brought up. I just pray that I will be able to teach Matilda well enough to understand that this kind of attitude is wrong, and that she must never copy it. I also have a previous post about my personal experience being bullied as a child here, what I learned from it and why we want to go for homeschooling. As for the parents of the child, I feel like I also fell short on how I handled the situation. I should have set my emotions aside and spoke to them. I should have explained clearly what happened and I should have grabbed to opportunity to show them kindness. Now, I know what to do next time and I should really keep that in mind. How about you? Do you have kids who were bullied? What did you do? How did you explain this to your kids?

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Extraordinary Sunday

Two Sundays ago was one of my not-your-kind-of-day, day. To give you a brief background of our usual Sunday, we are at church (CCF – Christ’s Commission Fellowship) the whole day. We start at around 10:45 by attending our GLC (Global Leadership Center) class, followed by a 12 noon service, that ends at about 1:30, and then a Discipleship group, or a Bible Study at 3-5pm.

So you see, our Sundays are mainly for Church activities and we are very much happy to be part in all that. Happy as I am, it is quite a challenge to do all these with an active toddler. I try with my very best to keep her busy, but, sometimes it is a bit exhausting to keep her from roaming around or playing with other kids. I’m kind of used to it though, except that Sunday, it was particularly different.

We left a bit earlier to pick up breakfast before heading to church. I got pancakes for Matilda and a burger for me. She ate one pancake during our class and she was well-behaved throughout the session. When the class was about to end, she began being a bit more “clingy”. In fact, she was very “clingy” and somewhat sleepy. I even noticed that she was closing her eyes while standing up and clutching onto my thighs. At first, I was on the impression she was sleepy because we kind of slept late the night before. So, I breastfed her and she then fell asleep. – This was the beginning of an EPIC day.

On the way to the up the worship hall, Joey noticed that Matilda was missing her other pair of shoe. One of her favorites! So we asked the guard to please inform us if someone would surrender it. Joey also volunteered to go back down and try to search for it just until we are settled on our seat. Before entering the hall though, our friends from GLC, Paul and Aish, handed it over to us. Whew! I felt so relieved! Apparently, someone approached them with the shoe, and they followed us going up.

Before finally entering the hall, Matilda woke up from her nap. She was asleep for about 30 minutes only, and not her usual 2 hour nap. I thought it was just because of the sound of the worship songs that woke her, to my surprise, I was so wrong.

As we were already seated, while the announcements were being given, Matilda started vomiting. It wasn’t the usual one-time vomit, but several episodes with lots and lots of liquid. She vomited on herself, on the chair, on my hair, chest and practically my entire body. She didn’t look bothered, though I knew she wasn’t feeling okay. I rushed her to the nearest washroom and started cleaning her up without even looking at how much vomit she expelled onto me. I was busy making sure I had her cleaned well because I didn’t want her soaked in a very sour smell – (….eww).

After I finished cleaning her up, I handed her to Joey so I can look at myself. My oh my, my top was all wet including the tips of my hair. I then realized I catched most of it. I smelled terrible and my hair was a mess. I didn’t bring any extra shirt – which I know I should have! So I decided I’d buy a shirt later after the service. I cleaned up myself (quickly) just to catch up on the ongoing service.

As soon as I finished cleaning up, Matilda told me, “Mommy, Matilda (Matata) poopoo. Mommy, hug.” And then I knew she was really feeling upset. I attended to her and allowed her to finish before I cleaned her up. After which, finally, she was settled and ready to go back to the service.

When the service was about to end, Matilda started being uneasy (again), and began passing gas. I knew that she was about to poop again and so I brought her to the back to find a spot where she can do her business. While walking around waiting for her to finish, I suddenly noticed the ribbon on my shoe has gone missing. I tried searching and I saw it was lying on the floor. (Insert music: cause you had a bad day…)

Can you imagine what I was feeling at this point? And to think that was just around 1pm? I was already exhausted. I felt so smelly and dirty. I was also hungry and to top it all off, Matilda’s condition concerned me. But even though all these things troubled me, I focused on this verse – Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭18‬ NLT)

I had to remind myself that every single thing that happens in our lives has a purpose. It is all part of God’s plan and it is always for the good of those who love Him, as also said in Romans 8:28. What good came out of it? I got to buy a new shirt! Yay! And because Matilda just had a short nap, she was asleep during our bible study – which helped me focus on our very meaty topic about the End Times. I believe this was His purpose, apart from the fact that He wanted to strengthen my faith in Him. I just prayed that He would please heal Matilda and the rest, we just lift and surrender to Him.

Matilda woke up 2 hours after, as if nothing had happened. She even ate a lot and played around for a bit. She even joined kids thrice her age as if she was a big girl! Who would have thought of our incident that morning? My baby girl was such a sport! I think God also made me realize that I should be really thankful that Matilda is an active toddler because if not, I’d be worried all the time thinking she is probably sick! And that I should really stop saying, “Ang likot na ni Matilda!”. What a wake-up call that is! As for my shoe, Joey promised to fix it. 🙂 It was a good Sunday, indeed! Thank you, Lord!

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Intentional Parenting at A Glance

Being a hands-on Mom is great because you get to spend most (if not all) of your time with your child. However, it can be a bit challenging too, as days go by.

When Matilda was still very young, around 0-6 months, our routine was very simple. She’ll feed, sleep, play a bit, feed and feed and then sleep again. She’s awake for short periods only and we used that time to play.

When she started walking, around 11 months, that’s when it began to be a little tiring for me. I had to constantly guide her and guard her from falling. She also explored a lot and that was the beginning of all the mess we have in our room (and everywhere else!). It was really fun for most part, but, there were also days when I just wanted to rest, and days when I too, got sick and I still had to take care of her.

Oftentimes people ask, “What do you do everyday?”, or “Don’t you get bored at home?”. My answer is always the same. “A lot!” is my answer to the first and “Of course, not!”, is my answer to the second. Let me give you a brief overview of our usual routine for the day now that Matilda is already 1 year and 7 months old.

8-8:30am Usual Wake-up Time
8:30-9:30am Breakfast
9:30-10:30am Play
10:30-12:00pm Nap Time
12-1pm Lunch
1-1:30pm Bath
1:30-3:30pm Play
3:30-5:30pm Nap Time
5:30-7pm Play
7-8pm Dinner
8-8:30pm Bath
8:30-9pm Play
9-8:30am Sleep

We have a No-TV policy at home so even us adults, do not watch at all. A lot of studies have shown that kids don’t actually learn anything from watching the television. Kids also tend to become used to the fast-paced entertainment they get, which in turn causes them to get bored when they actually start playing. Due to this, Joey and I made a commitment that as much as we can, we will not expose Matilda to this yet and just let her appreciate “playing” for what it really is.

So, what do we actually do during play time? Here’s a list of the things we do:

  • Read books
  • Color books
  • Pretend play (cooking, tea-party, picnic, dress-up, grocery shopping, cleaning)
  • Sing songs
  • Dance
  • Interact with kids from our neighborhood
  • Pick flowers
  • Ride the bike
  • Make a mess (art and crafts)
  • Clean the mess (pack away)

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Believe it or not, these things can never get boring. As your child learns while you play, it gives you a some sort of accomplishment that you were able to impart something that will become the foundation of their knowledge as they grow older. Simple activities enhance your child’s ability to learn without you even realizing it. Like for example, I like to sing Praise Songs and Nursery Rhymes to Matilda. I also invent actions to make it fun and entertaining. One day, she just started imitating me and there she was, doing the actions as she listens to me sing.

These are the things that make it all worth while. The fact that I am being there for her, not just to take care of her, but also play with her and teach her (discipline her) in the process is fulfilling enough for me.

This technique that we are doing, wherein we set certain standards is called Intentional Parenting. The focus of Intentional Parenting is molding the heart into helping your children be Christlike. It is being:

Proactive in teaching your kids – raising them in the fear of the Lord so they will know what is right instead of correcting them when they start doing wrong. Like for example, we try to teach Matilda everything that we do on a daily basis like read the Bible, Pray, fix her toys, eat properly, be polite, how to behave when at home and when we’re out, and so on. By doing this, we limit using the word “no” to her since we started with her training at a very young age.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭22‬:‭6‬ NASB)

Modeling to them – setting yourself as an example of authenticity and not perfection. Being a model is being true to yourself. It means you are who you are at home and when in public. We should be reminded that children copy us both positively and negatively. In all that we do, we should be aware that they are watching our every move. One example I specifically have for this is submission and respect to people in authority. In our home, Joey being my husband, is the person in authority over us. As much as I can, even though it is such a struggle, I try to be a submissive and respectful wife to him. I would like Matilda to be a submissive and respectful person to those in authority, first and foremost, to God and then to all those He assigned to lead, may it be in the family, church or government.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭9‬ NIV)

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭20‬ ESV)

Being there for them – playing with them and caring for them. I think, you will agree with me when I say, children who were personally cared for by their parents grow up to be God-fearing and well-mannered children. Well that is if they were brought up the right way! But the point is, if you are there for them to nurture and guide them, I’m pretty sure they’d end up great in terms of their character. This is because they would most likely be closer to you than their peers. We all know most of the foolish things we did back then we learned from our friends, right? So if your kids have a good relationship with you, with open communication at all times, then you won’t  have to worry about them being pressured to conform in today’s world.

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭2-3‬ NLT)

and most importantly..

Disciplining them – shepherding the heart about obedience and respect which will eventually pave the way for you to connect them to the Lord, our God. I must admit, this last part is indeed the hardest. I do know discipline is part of parenting, but I never really understood the depth of it until I read Tedd Tripp’s book entitled, Shepherding A Child’s Heart. The main theme of the book is discipline through spanking. I know, I know, most of you will raise your eyebrows in this area, but following what is said in the scriptures is part or our so-called “non-negotiables” in our faith. As Christian parents, we are commanded to discipline our children this way so they may grow in wisdom and stature just like Jesus Christ.

Discipline is not a suggestion, it is a way of life. Those who did not experience discipline grew up without honoring and obeying their parents. And those people are more often than not, made mistakes that led to terrible consequences, some even caused it their future. For us, Matilda should be trained to obey those in authority, which is us, her parents for now that she’s under our care and to those she will be subject to later in life, like school, work, government, etc. If she learns to obey and honor us, she will grow up able to discern right from wrong. And when the time comes that she’s old enough to make her own life decisions, she will be responsible in making them. Knowing that in every action there is a consequence, is what we are trying to impress on her heart as we discipline her. I will dedicate a separate post about this next time from the things I learned on the book and elaborate on the do’s and don’ts of spanking. There is a right procedure and state of mind to do this, mind you, and it is done not with an unholy anger but with a calm and loving attitude.

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭24‬ NIV)

We love Matilda dearly and knowing that she is entrusted to us by God for a greater purpose, it gives parenting a clear meaning for me and Joey. We are to lead her to God and the most successful way to do this is to apply the principles of Intentional Parenting.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV)

 

Bullying and Homeschooling

As a child, I knew going to school was necessary for me to learn and to be able to “work” someday. It was clearly explained to me while I was growing up, mostly by my father. Being a child, however, doesn’t quite give you a wide understanding of the things that you will have to go through to get there.

I started pre-school a little bit late. I was 6 years old then and even though I passed the assessment test for the “prep” level, my parents insisted that I must go through the “kinder” level first to lessen the pressure of learning on my part. They wanted me to be able adjust first with the idea of school and they thought I wasn’t ready yet for the higher level. As it turned out, no amount of preparation could actually get you to that state anyway.

That entire first year in school went by smoothly. I wasn’t excited about the fact I’ll be left in school alone as my parents recalled. Because I was really young then, my memories of school were bits and pieces of both good and bad. One particular thing I clearly remember though, was that right from the start, I was always the target of the bullies in school.

If you don’t know me personally, my mother is Filipina and my father is Indian. I don’t actually look like an Indian except for the fact that when I was young, my everyday hairdo was a simple braid for my long and curly hair. My complexion is fair, I got that from my mom. The height, being tallest in the class is from my dad. At around 6-9 years old, my teeth looked terrible and to top it all off, I was very chubby. Yeah, I wasn’t as appealing compared to the other girls in school. And that was the reason I was the bully’s favorite.

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Fast forward to 2nd grade, I grew older and so somehow, everything I was going through already took its toll on me. I started showing signs that I disliked school. I didn’t show any excitement about it and that made every morning difficult, for my mother.

I don’t know why I didn’t tell my parents sooner what I was experiencing in school. Until one day when a group of boys from my class intentionally threw my lunch and tore my lunch box apart. In my attempt to stop them, I got hurt when one of them kicked me. A lot of students saw what happened and immediately called the attention of the teacher who wasn’t in the room when it happened. The teacher called my mom and informed her of the incident and it was just then when I told them the truth.

Everyday as I went to school, my classmates (boys) would call me names, trip me while walking, pull my braid, steal my things, and a lot more. Being a child at that time, who had been treated the same way for a while, I honestly thought what they were doing to me was normal. If not for that incident, my parents would not have known the truth about my experiences in school.

One more incident took place months after that. A boy from my class brought a pellet gun and he shot me right at my chin with it. Thank God he did not hit me in the eye and though it hurt so bad, it did not leave any permanent damage. And this was the first time I personally told my mom about a particular bullying incident.

As a mother now to my baby girl, thinking about what happened to me breaks my heart twice harder. I couldn’t for the life of me ever imagine for her to be treated that way. I now understand what my mom could have felt at that time and why she did all that she could to protect me and my memories of childhood.

After months of probation and deliberation, two of these bullies eventually got expelled from school because of other numerous incidents that involved them. But even though they weren’t in school anymore, it did not lessen my anxiety about the idea of going to school in any way.

Because of all the bullying, I developed an intense feeling of insecurity. I avoided playing with other kids except for some of my closest girl friends. I also had anxiety attacks wherein my tummy would get so upset on the way to school and sometimes I’d develop a fever out of nowhere. This was a serious concern for my parents and so whenever I showed signs that I wasn’t well, they wouldn’t force me to go to school anymore.

You see, communication is very important. It’s very common among children not to inform parents about certain things when they think that it is normal. Always make sure you talk to your child about what specifically happens in school. Ask them questions in detail to be able to know how they are doing. You also have to watch out for signs. If your child isn’t showing any interest in school, ask them and investigate why.

These simple things may make or break your child’s character. And honestly, it is one of the main reasons why we are leaning towards homeschooling our Matilda. I’m very thankful that no matter how rough those circumstances were to me, at least I somehow ended up to be a normal, happy person. But even though I turned out fine, that doesn’t mean it left no emotional scar in my childhood. Of course, it did! I can still remember the hate I felt towards every one of those bullies. In my mind, I wished bad things to happen to them and I grew up holding grudges against them. It was only when I came to know the Lord, through his mercy and grace, that I was able to forgive all of them.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31, 32 NLT)

Knowing the formative years are very crucial, I cannot depend on the school or a teacher for that matter, to lead my child into Christlikeness. That responsibility is mine and I have to own it. As her mother, she was entrusted to me by God for a reason. A reason that only a Christian parent will understand. This involves leading her to follow Christ and for her to do the same when she’s already of age. We want her character molded in a place where circumstances are within our control. And we (Joey and I) consider the home to be a safe place where I can monitor what she learns, how she does things, and everything else in between. I want to be able to personally guide her in the process of building her own personality, and not to be dictated by how other children perceive who she is. I want myself to set a good example for her and not for her to copy someone who doesn’t have any set of values – just like the bullies present in school.

I may be paranoid and my reasons may be invalid but if you were bullied like me, I’m sure you wouldn’t want your child to experience the same. And one way for me to prevent that is to home school her instead. Yes, I know, bullying is inevitable and it can happen absolutely anywhere, even in play areas and the like. All I want is to lessen the possibility since the school is a place wherein children interact with one another on a daily basis, and the chances of it happening there, are far greater. Plus, the effects based on their interaction without you around, are much more critical too.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying sending your child to a regular school is wrong. Of course it’s absolutely okay. It’s just that, you, as the parent should be responsible enough to make sure your child goes to a school which gives importance to your child’s inward orientation. Sure, they will learn well in this particular school knowing all the students who have graduated turned out successful. But, think about their heart. Where is Jesus in their lives? Was the school able to instill important life lessons such as having a personal relationship with God? Is the school as aggressive in building the child’s character and not just feeding them with curriculum lessons? Evaluate the school, the teachers and the students. You have to know where they stand. After all, you’ll leave your child with these people who will greatly influence their life. Wouldn’t you want to know who they will learn from and what they will contribute to the development of their character?

When you look at schooling this way, it is only then you will understand its gravity. Whatever your decision might be, it is best to consider what will work for your family. What works for us might not work for you and vice versa. Just make sure you have prayed and asked God for guidance in making the right decisions such as choosing the right school for you child.

In the event however, that your child is already being bullied, here are some tips I thought to share with you:

1. Try your best to keep your cool and go to the school immediately and talk to the proper authorities about it. Never, ever confront the bully or his parents. Note: “Anti-Bullying Act of 2012”
2. Request a guidance counselor to monitor your child’s behavior at school. A weekly meeting may help your child gain his/her self-esteem back.
3. Enroll your child in a sport that would enhance his skill in self-defense like Taekwondo or Muay Thai. (Note: Teach them to defend themselves and NOT to fight back!)
4. Encourage your child to communicate with you about his daily activities in school.
5. Explain the importance of forgiveness and that it is God’s command for him to do so. Pray with your child that God will grant you wisdom in understanding the heart of the bully. Doing this will allow him/her to be able to have peace in his heart.

  • Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

6. Set a good example to your child by showing proper attitude against people who mistreat you. How your child responds is usually how they see it from their parents. Make sure you are being a role-model at all times, even when things don’t go your way.

  • “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. (Matthew 5:38, 39 NLT)

7. Consider the benefits of homeschooling, both for you and your child.

My parents wanted the best for me that’s why they sent me to that particular school. The only mistake they made was that they trusted the school too much and they forgot to scrutinize how they value the formation of their student’s character.

The bullying was a depressing chapter of my life but I learned a lot from it. One is to extend my patience further and another is to have an understanding and forgiving heart towards difficult people. Part of who I am now is because of all the experiences I encountered in the past and I will be forever grateful for it.

Were you bullied as a child? Or do you have a child who is being bullied in school? What actions did you take? How did it affect your child? Let’s talk about it and let me know how I can pray for you!