Our KidZania Experience

Yesterday, we were given the privilege of visiting KidZania for their preview. It was through the generosity of the group Homeschoolers of the Philippines that we were able to enjoy the facility at a discounted rate. Today, I will share with you some details about our experience as well some tips to maximize your stay, as you plan your trip to this wonderful play space.

First of all, knowing that this place is designed for play, remember to dress yourselves appropriately. Make sure to wear comfortable garments especially, shoes, as the place is quite big. KidZania’s activity areas are originally designed for children between 4-14 years of age. Younger and older kids are welcome, but they won’t be allowed to enter some establishments and cannot participate in the activities.

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This is Matilda at the check-in counter sponsored by Cebu Pacific. Our personal information such as her name and age, parent’s name and contact number were taken here. We were given our security/ID tags in the form of this bracelet. In Matilda’s case, it was placed on her ankle, so as not to disrupt her from her play. This bracelet is given to all who will enter KidZania, and each one matches with you and your child’s identification to make sure that every child will go out with their original companion. We were also given the map and the city codes as references.

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Matilda holding her boarding pass to KidZania. She personally handed it to the “flight attendant” before we passed through the x-ray machine.

Here’s a look at what you’ll see when you get inside:

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Upon check-in, children classified under 4-14 years of age would receive a total of 50 kidZos to jumpstart their stay in the city. Here are some of the job opportunities designed for ages 4-14 years old:

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By applying for these jobs, children would earn money called the KidZos Currency. This money can be used in different establishments. Each actual job pay differently, so it depends on which job they would choose. Other activities require payment such as the Goldilocks cake decorating as well as the salon. This is where children must learn to earn their money first and then pay for the services they want or spend it on whatever they desire.

Here are the favorites where lines were pretty long:

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This is the hospital sponsored by St. Luke’s Medical Center. It has 3 units, the Baby Care Center by J&J, Emergency Room by Green Cross and an Operating Room, where children are taught the basics of having an organ transplant. All of which have different entry points, but all are beside each other.

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In this hotel sponsored by Holiday Inn, the children have different tasks to fulfill. They can be at the reception, catering or housekeeping.

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The construction and the supermarket were big hits as well.

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This is the Veterinary Clinic where children are taught basic pet care. There are stuffed animals in cages as well to make it look realistic!

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Here at the Urban Garden, they are taught about the basics of gardening.

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It is nice how children can actually work on designing their very own chiffon cake, also known as mamon! Goldilocks, however would need the child to pay for this activity which costs 15 kidZos. 

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This Cebu Pacific plane is really nice, as it looks like a real airplane with all the details. This flight training service requires a child to pay 15 kidZos. I can’t wait for Matilda to be older and get to experience how fun it is inside. ūüôā

Here are some of the jobs wherein kids get to explore the city and be like real men and women working in the field:

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LBC: Delivering items

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Firemen responding to a fire and on the side are Paramedics attending to a victim.

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Here we have the ambulance with the Paramedics inside, and on your right are the CSI on patrol.

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This is the RightZKeepers’ House designed specifically for ages 1-3 years old. The place is quite small and only one companion is allowed per child. Each child is permitted to stay for a maximum of 20 minutes only.

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This is the Kindergarten ABZ where toddlers can play with some Play Dough and various molding shapes. They can also paint and learn the alphabet using the different items available. This also has a one companion policy and a limit of 20 minutes per play time.

Now, let me share with you some of the food choices inside the facility:

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I was told that they prohibit bringing in of food and drinks. However,  I didn’t know about this policy and we did bring in some food and water, for snacks which were all tucked inside my bag. Guards checked my bag before entry and they did see it, but it didn’t bother them. I guess, if you will be discreet about it and eat at the designated areas, it won’t be a problem. Just don’t bring in too much, as if you are going on a picnic! ūüôā

Going back, the primary goal of the kids here is to be able to find a job and experience it first hand. Because parents are not allowed to enter these establishments, the children are taught independence, and they learn more by interacting with other people. Just the mere exposure to the different jobs available is already a great opportunity for them, truly educational. I wish we had this when I was younger! I believe it can greatly influence a child’s decision later on when they go into college.

It is just amazing to observe the kids and watch how good they are at following instructions even at a very young age. The kidZos money they earn on the other hand, is a good representation of the hard work they were able to provide in the company. Children will learn the value of earning money before they go on spending.

Having the KidZania passport, valued at 250 pesos, is also a plus because a child gets a stamp and eventually becomes a citizen when they complete all of it. Being a “citizen” they claim give you many benefits and perks. Children are also encouraged to open their very own bank account using their hard-earned kidZos money to instill in them good stewardship, which we really appreciate.

Overall, I believe the facility exceeded our expectations and I highly recommend it for children 4-14 years old.

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Lastly, let me show you the one and only job that Matilda was allowed to do where she earned her 8 kidZos.

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As parents, we felt so proud seeing our 2 year and 8 month old toddler ‘working’ at the laundromat. She was a pro at following instructions and she finished her task with minimal assistance even though she wasn’t actually qualified for this activity yet. KidZania is one great place for play and learning. We will surely come back when Matilda is big enough to try the other activities. ūüôā

KidZania is set to open for public tomorrow, August 7, 2015. For details such as prices, schedules, rules and regulations, please refer to the details below:

Ticket prices from August 7 to October 7, 2015:

Visitor Type Mondays-Thursdays Fridays – Sundays
(and National Holidays)
Children (4-14 years old) Php 750.00 Php 1,000.00
Toddlers (1-3 years old) Php 420.00 Php 550.00
Babies below 1 year old FREE FREE
Adults Php 420.00 Php 550.00

Ticket prices from October 8, 2015 onwards:

Visitor Type Mondays-Thursdays Fridays – Sundays
(and National Holidays)
Children (4-14 years old) Php 900.00 Php 1,100.00
Toddlers (1-3 years old) Php 500.00 Php 600.00
Babies below 1 year old FREE FREE
Adults Php 500.00 Php 600.00

*Prices are VAT inclusive and subject to change without prior notice.  

Operating Hours:

  • Mondays to Thursdays:  
    • 9AM to 4PM (1 shift)
  • Fridays to Sundays (and National Holidays):
    • 9AM to 2PM
    • 3PM to 8PM

KidZania is also open for class field trips as well as party celebrations. You can send them an email in the following addresses, tourism@kidzania.com.ph and celebrations@kidzania.com.ph, respectively.

Rules and Regulations: http://manila.kidzania.com/en-ph/pages/city-codes

Source: KidZania Manila Website http://manila.kidzania.com/en-ph

 

 

 

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Homeschooling Part 2: Getting Started

As a continuation of my first post, today I will talk about our other activities. It gets quite challenging as a baby grows, to get their focus and to keep their attention. A lot of creativity and patience is needed to make sure your baby will love the idea of learning.

One must understand that Homeschooling is not limited to the confines of the home, just like learning. Books and materials are all good supplements for learning, but the more the child is exposed to the reality of the world, the better they become at understanding concepts. With Matilda, we make it a point to communicate with her, in every opportunity. We never get tired of explaining the reasons why a certain thing needs to be done, the consequence for each and every action, and the hard, but reality of the truth. No matter how complicated something might be for her to grasp, we never lie to her, we just patiently explain and ask for her respect and obedience. When a child is brought up knowing you have only pure interests at heart and their welfare is all you think about, it wouldn’t be very hard to instruct and teach your child. They will instantly develop love for learning, and this will become your lifestyle.
Whenever we are at home, we always try to make certain activities to be able to spend our time wisely. One of the things we started with, apart from those that I mentioned in Part 1 of this post, is coloring books.

Crayons and Coloring Books/Sketch Pads – this is an activity I personally loved while growing up. Because I have seen Matilda’s interest in writing through copying me by holding my pens, it was then I realized, she is ready. We started to introduce crayons and pencils just a few months after she turned a year old. After I showed her how these were used, I just allowed her to doodle, color however way she wanted, and just observed. There were times I’d sit beside her and color with her. She would watch and copy what I was doing and sometimes would ask for my help, I’d remind her how it is done and she’ll go back to doing it on her own.

I also used crayons to teach her colors by writing the alphabet and numbers on a sketch pad. I would also draw certain objects and would name them one by one. This helped in building her imagination as well as her vocabulary. Indeed, a lot of things can be taught through this activity. You just have to learn to be creative. ūüôā

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Another thing we love to do is build things with play-doh.

Play-Doh – this is a good exercise for fine motor skills. The molding process is a good means for them to gain control and make their own shapes. Also a good way for them to develop in the area of art and crafts. To make it more fun, we sometimes use her toys and include some pretend-play, like a tea-party for her dolls. She enjoys this activity a lot and it pays really, as she gets to be imaginative in her play. Just be careful not to leave your child unattended with this as this is a choking hazard.

Educational Posters – I think this is a must in every home. These posters are what your child will get to see everyday and that is one of the best ways for them to memorize different things such as the alphabet, numbers, shapes, parts of the body, animals, opposites (big and small, short and tall, open and close, long and short etc.) It is really cheap and readily available at any local bookstores.

Another approach for learning is through Montessori-Inspired Materials. Because I came from a Monterssori school, I am familiar with the type of materials used when we were still in CASA (Nursery level). I incorporated these materials in our play-based learning in order to cover certain areas that are quite difficult for a small child to understand.

Ring Stacker – this would teach them colors and the concept of size recognition and differentiation. This is also a good activity for hand and eye coordination as they stack the rings to the rod.

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Nesting and Stacking Blocks – this teaches them the importance of balance and it’s relation to various sizes. Also a great activity for building whatever they like.

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Spindle Box – this is quite hard to find, if there is any. I made my own by using an illustration board with printed numbers and number words and bought a set of wooden sticks. This is a great material in teaching a child how to count and associate the numbers with actual counting objects, such as the wooden sticks. I would just show her how it is used and she watched me until she was able to get it. She now knows how to properly count because of this.

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Basic Skills Toy -this toy is for practical life skills. This will help your child in teaching them independence when it comes to tying their shoe lace, buttoning their shirt, snapping and unsnapping probably their clothes as well, opening and closing zippers, and fastening or buckling belts. You can also make your own and all you will need is an old shirt, a frame (optional-as this is Montessori-inspired ), and add whatever activity you’d like for them to master.

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Pizza Party – this toy or any other toy that has a similar concept will be a great tool in teaching them how to count as well as the concept of same and different. The different toppings on the pizza is useful in identifying which go together (alike) and which do not (different). This toy is also a great way to introduce fractions later on. It is a really good investment and even I enjoy playing with it!

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Puzzles – this helps in introducing the alphabet sounds or phonics. Getting them acquainted with the pictures and their corresponding names will enable them to identify which letter they begin with. A good activity you can practice to prepare them for reading.

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Practical Life Skills – I cannot thank my parents enough for exposing me to household chores at such an early age. They allowed me to play at the laundry area and wash hankies and socks, at the kitchen to wash the dishes (with help of course!), sweep the floor, polish shoes, wipe the tables to remove dust, and a lot more. These helped me in being responsible for my own room as I grew older, and eventually in our own house as a wife. These are activities which your child will surely enjoy as I did when I was younger.

There are really so many ways to make these materials and lot others are available as well. You don’t have to spend much to achieve the same kind of concepts. All you need is a bit of creativity using ordinary art supplies with your own recyclable things at home, and the internet to get ideas, with that, you are good to go. Try searching for toddler or preschool activities at home and you will be surprised at how much information there is on the web. Some examples are lacing beads for fine motor skills, using buttons or same colored objects to teach colors, painting for art, sorting same and different items, and a whole lot more depending on which area your child needs to improve on or develop.

There is something you have to keep in mind though, in whatever instance, do not pressure your child to sit down and do these activities if he/she is not ready. You don’t want a child getting traumatized with the idea of learning just because you are too eager to teach them or just because you think your child is far behind with what he/she knows. Remember that they develop at their own pace. Some kids develop early and some at a later time, and this doesn’t make them any better nor less smarter than others. As kids, they still love to play and are still very curious about other things. They easily get bored too, and you really have to find ways to motivate them to learn something new each day.

One of the things I noticed with Matilda is, words of affirmation gets her going. Whenever she hears me compliment her for something right she has done, or whenever she accomplished an activity, this gives her a boost to continue on. It really pays to know your child and in this case, it would be great to use that certain characteristic to your advantage when it comes to teaching.

Have you got other suggestions? Leave it in the comment box, so we can try them too! Also, would you happen to be interested in what activities we are up to now? These are more advanced and already include textbooks and workbooks. Just let me know so I can share them to you and make a Part 3 of this series. ūüôā

Homeschooling Part 1: Where do I begin?

When I married Joey, I never imagined myself homeschooling our future child. It has entered my mind though, and I thought it was good, but it never really made an impact until I had Matilda. We realized how much children actually learn through their peers and how they can be easily influenced to do almost anything. Honestly, this scared me having gone through that lifestyle myself. The horror of having some random kid bully my child entered my mind as well, so many times – an experience I had that I never want her to EVER encounter. And above all, we wanted to really be intentional in our parenting which led us to the ultimate decision, which is to homeschool.

Homeschooling is something that needs love, patience and passion. What drives me to stay focused is the idea that Matilda will learn from me, first hand. That whatever she learns will be coming from me and the materials we will be using. That’s quite scary, don’t you agree? Being the one responsible for your child’s knowledge and skill is daunting. But you know what? Something else is much more important that all of that – Character. When you have a child focused on God, and you raise him/her with love and fear in the Lord, everything else will follow. Joey and I agreed on this decision, wholeheartedly, knowing this is what is best for our daughter.

Deuteronomy 11: 18-19 New International Version (NIV)

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Proverbs 22:6 New International Version (NIV)

 6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 6:20-23 New International Version (NIV)

20 My son, keep your father‚Äôs command
    and do not forsake your mother‚Äôs teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart;
    fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
    when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
    are the way to life

These verses I cannot stress any better. The truth is, we, as parents, are commanded by God to disciple our own children. To disciple them means to teach them about God, to be intentional in the way we raise them, which is the most important thing of all. To be clear, I have nothing against traditional schooling, it’s just that we want to protect the character of our little girl. We believe that our home is the best place to start, to keep her away from bad influences, and also for her to have a more focused form of learning. We always pray that we will be able to instill values that she will hold on to and practice as she grows. The academic aspect is just a plus for us, we will just feel accomplished, that we have successfully done our part as parents, if we are able to raise a child who knows that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.

On the other hand, the frustrated teacher in me is very happy to be doing this for our Matilda. Even though she isn’t formally enrolled yet to a homeschool provider, which we will eventually do so with TMA, (The Master’s Academy) we have begun long ago in building this dream, one step at a time.

As a hands on mom to my child, I made it a point to observe her individual traits and qualities. Since Matilda was young, I have seen her interest in music, books and educational toys. These are some of the tools we used, to foster learning. I remember, she was still in my tummy when I started collecting books that I wanted to read for her during the day. We started doing this as soon as she was born even if she doesn’t seem to understand anything yet. Looking back, I’m really glad I started early, because good books, award-winning titles at that, are quite hard to find and they can be very pricey too! Plus, because I introduced books at an early age, Matilda is so fond of them and she would personally request her favorites to be read, sometimes, over and over again! Here are some of Matilda’s favorites you might want to get your hands on: Goodnight Moon, Guess How Much I Love You, Goodnight Gorilla, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Runaway Bunny, Mommy Loves, The Going to Bed Book and Counting Kisses, and of course, The Bible.

Another thing I like to do is sing her songs as well. We both love listening to nursery rhymes and children’s worship songs and I try my best to make it fun and interactive by making movements or actions, for her to follow. At around 5-6 months she already began copying some actions, and it felt so rewarding to see how much she was learning. Some of her favorite songs with actions or sounds she can mimic are as follows: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Wheel’s on The Bus, Old MacDonald had a Farm, Incy Wincy Spider, Barney’s Mr. Sun Song, If You’re Happy and You Know It, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Father Abraham and Jesus Loves Me.

Constant communication has also given us great benefits. I never underestimated Matilda’s capability to understand. In fact, even when she was a small baby, I’d talk to her like a normal adult. I’d give her instructions, reminders, and affirmation like I would do with an older child. Yes, I cuddle her, show her love and affection like any mother to a child, but it didn’t stop there. I taught her independence as well at a very early age, like in the area of eating, and packing-away her toys. Some simple activities that enhance her self-discipline, and as I have said, independence.

Because we have a no-TV policy at home, this also helped a lot to make sure our time is really well-spent. Joey and I invested in good quality educational toys, mostly made of wood, which Matilda really enjoys until now. The reason why we prefer wooden toys over plastic or battery-operated is that, these toys help a child in using their imagination. A child who is used to playing with battery-operated ones tend to be easily bored, just like those babies who are used to watching TV or videos. Their attention span are shorter and they can’t seem to enjoy quality play-time anymore. We just introduced certain videos, which are also educational, when Matilda turned two years old. Although, people we are close to can actually attest that she would still prefer to play rather than watch videos, as this is what she was accustomed to, since she was a lot younger. We truly praise God for this!

Each child is unique in terms of reaching their development, however, I believe that “play” is the best foundation of learning. Educational Toys will be your best friends when it comes to teaching your child. Some of our favorites when Matilda was around a year old are as follows: Shape Sorters, Wooden Puzzles, Wooden Blocks, Lego Blocks and Musical Instruments. These toys helped me teach her the basics like the Alphabet, Numbers, Colors, Shapes and Animals. I actually never thought she would learn from them until we got to prove it ourselves. Now at 2.5 years old, Matilda has mastered all of them and is already showing signs of readiness to read and write. It is really all by God’s grace. He really amazes me with all of His blessings!

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You may even be surprised upon reading this that you are already doing some sort of informal homeschooling. Congratulations! Isn’t it fun? You get to play and learn at the same time while bonding with your child. Remember, you don’t need to spend much to be able to do all of these. Sometimes, all you need is a little creativity. And don’t forget, that children do not necessarily learn all these things right away. Do not compare as it usually takes some time for others. Just be patient and consistent in doing your daily activities, and again, find it in your heart to enjoy it. ūüôā

PS: Watch out for Part 2, as I will talk about in detail our activities from when Matilda was around 18 months, until now that she is about to turn 2 and a half years old. I will share the materials we use as well as my personal strategies and tips to make learning fun and easy. Hope you enjoyed Part 1 of this post!

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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Kidzoona Philippines: Our One Peso (Php 1.00) Promo Experience

Last November 1st, we finally had the chance to visit Kidzoona at Robinsons Galleria. They were on a one peso (Yes, that’s right! PISO!) per hour promo and it was a really great deal, so, we decided to give it a try! Initially, I had no intention on blogging about it. Although, I realized, when I tried looking for reviews on different play areas in the metro, not long ago, it was a bit challenging to find. So, for the benefit of my fellow mothers, I thought it would be great to also share what we experienced with our little girl, Matilda.

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We arrived at the mall with Matilda still soundly asleep in the car at about 2pm. Because I heard from friends that you have to come in and get scheduled for your play time, I kindly asked Joey to go down and sign us up. We were scheduled at 4-5pm. Only an hour, of course, to be fair, so that they can accommodate other kids for their ongoing promo.

Kidzoona surprisingly had a big floor area. I wasn’t actually expecting it to be that big! They even have an arcade for bigger kids. I think this is great especially if kids are very much excited to play and they are still waiting for their scheduled time, OR if they still want to stay inside, and their time is already up! Good job, Kidzoona!

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Very important facts and reminders, as well as the regular price for the use of the facility is printed clearly in this huge infographic so, READ UP! The 1 hour rate is Php 200 .00 and 3 hours is Php 400.00. This is inclusive of one free companion and any additional is priced at Php 100.00.

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Like any other play areas, you have got to wear socks inside. We brought our own, though, they sell socks as well in case you forget to bring yours.

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I took photos of all the pretend-play areas. Matilda enjoyed the Kitchen and the Sushi Bar most!

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I like that the place isn’t crowded because they limit the number of people who can go in at a time, hence the schedule I mentioned above. They only allow 25 kids plus approximately 25 companions to go in per hour. This is great so that there is order inside and kids get to ¬†enjoy quality play which is very important.

I love pretend-play and we do this even at home. We like that Matilda gets to enjoy and learn at the same time, so, we really invest in good quality toys which are mostly made of wood. I like that at Kidzoona, they also invested well and that they make sure that all the toys are placed where they rightfully belong – every OC Mom’s dream! They even have 3-4 staff inside the play area to keep the place organized and to look after the kids as well. Such a really clean and safe place! They also have plenty of couches for parents and guardians to sit in, plus a water dispenser with free water for your thirsty kids.

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Here are the other play areas available for kids in different ages. Matilda’s favorite here was the magnetic, wooden train set. It was really nice. We enjoyed playing with it!

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During our one hour stay, we were very fortunate to have met the Kidzoona mascot, Lala Chan! She is a 3-year-old squirrel. She danced along with the staff, and kids got to participate too! We were also given the chance to take a picture with Lala. She stayed for about 10 minutes and according to the staff, she does visit from time to time to surprise the kids. Such a nice looking mascot! Matilda danced with her even if she was a bit scared to go near.

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If you noticed, at the back of Lala is an area still unfinished. It is another part with a giant inflatable slide and 2 other play grounds with lots of plastic balls we all know kids really LOVE. This will be ready at the grand opening on November 8.

I have to say that overall, it was a very pleasing experience. The fact that we only paid one peso for this is more than enough! One sad thing though is that they do not have their own restroom. ūüė¶ I had a bit of a hard time bringing my newly potty trained daughter to the farthest end of the mall just so she can relieve herself. Due to this, we had to go out earlier than our scheduled time out. I hope they can consider having their own restroom if that is still possible!

Kidzoona is closed from November 3-6 in preparation for their grand opening on November 8, 2014. Visit them at the 4th level of Robinsons Galleria. We will definitely go back! See you around!

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Coping with G6PD Deficiency

Back in 2008, Joey’s nephew got a positive result for G6PD Deficiency after he had his newborn screening test. I was still studying then for my Medical Technology course and I already had a brief background about the condition. I was aware that this is common among Filipinos and that we had the “mild” type (Class III) according to World Health Organization’s Classification, based on the¬†magnitude of the enzyme deficiency and the severity of hemolysis. I assured their family that it wasn’t something to worry about just as what the little boy’s Pediatrician had said to them.

Since I knew how this was passed on to the baby boy, which is hereditary, by the way, I knew that if I were to marry Joey and we had our own child, he or she might also be at risk of having the same condition as well. So, I dedicated some time to research more about this through reading books and several studies made here and abroad to further my knowledge in this area.

Years passed and December of 2012, I gave birth to my little girl, Matilda. And just after days of enjoying her presence, the hospital called and asked us to pick up the result of her newborn screening test, immediately. I knew right then and there that Matilda must have had a positive result for G6PD Deficiency and true enough, I was right.

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What is Newborn Screening?

Newborn Screening (NBS) is a simple procedure to find out if your baby has a congenital metabolic disorder that may lead to mental retardation or even death if left untreated. Most babies with metabolic disorders look “normal” at birth. By doing NBS, metabolic disorders may be detected even before clinical signs and symptoms are present. And as a result of this, treatment can be given early to prevent consequences of untreated conditions. This is ideally done immediately, 24 hours after birth. This costs only 550 pesos and the results usually come out within 2-3 weeks, depending on the place it was made.

What Disorders are included in the Screening?

Disorder Screened Effect if NOT SCREENED Effect if SCREENED and managed
CH (Congenital Hypothyroidism) Severe Mental Retardation Normal
CAH (Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia) Death Alive and normal
GAL (Galactosemia) Death or Cataracts Alive and normal
PKU (Phenylketonuria) Severe Mental Retardation Normal
G6PD Deficiency Severe Anemia, Kernicterus Normal
Maple Syrup Urine Disease Death Alive and normal

 

What is G6PD Deficiency?

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, or G6PD deficiency for short, is the most common “inborn metabolic disorder” in the world. This means that from the time a baby is born, thre is already something wrong with how his body makes and breaks important substances. According to statistics, about 400 million people have G6PD deficiency, and it is most common in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Babies with G6PD deficiency have very little or no enzyme called Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD). An enzyme is a kind of protein that speeds up chemical reactions in the body. The enzyme G6PD is especially important to red blood cells. If this enzyme is lacking or missing, red blood cells are easily destroyed.

How is it acquired?

There are 2 kinds of sex chromosomes, X and Y. All baby girls have two X chromosomes. All baby boys have one X and one Y. The gene that gives instructions on how G6PD is made is found in the X chromosome only, thus G6PD deficiency is described as X-linked.

If a baby girl gets one defective G6PD gene from either of her parents, she will not have G6PD deficiency because she has another G6PD gene that can do the work (remember: a baby girl has two X chromosomes, thus two G6PD genes). But if she gets two defective G6PD genes from both her parents, she will have G6PD deficiency. On the other hand, a baby boy whose G6PD gene is defective will surely get G6PD deficiency because the Y chromosome has no G6PD gene.

A defective G6PD gene will give wrong instructions on how to make the enzyme G6PD. As a result, too little or none of it is made.

NOTE: Kindly click on this link to view the inheritance chart –¬†http://g6pddeficiency.org/wp/g6pd-deficiency-home/g6pd-deficiency-inheritance-chart/#.U5kwKvmSw1I

What is the potential harm of having G6PD Deficiency?

If a baby does not have enough G6PD, his red blood cells lack protection from the harmful effects of oxidative substances. When these substances accumulate in the body in hight concentrations, it may lead to hemolysis – a process wherein red blood cells are destroyed which usually causes hemolytic anemia.

Destroyed red blood cells are brought to the liver to be broken down to smaller pieces for disposal. One of the end products of this process is bilirubin, a yellowish substance that accumulates in different parts of the body when too much of it is produced. Quite often, bilirubin accumulates in the skin and causes it to appear yellowish (Jaundice). In the worst cases, biliribin accumulates in the brain (Kernicterus) and causes mental retardation or death. 

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Source: http://www.newbornscreening.ph/

My initial reaction was relief that it was indeed G6PD Deficiency and not something else. Among the 6 conditions included in the test, G6PD Deficiency was the least serious and it had no medical intervention needed afterwards.

After confirming quatitatively the amount of G6PD level Matilda had, we came back to her Neonatologist-Pediatrician, with the result. The doctor explained that this condition is common among Filipinos and there is no need to be alarmed.

Since Matilda is breastfed, I had to ask the doctor if eating food that is found to be harmful for her condition is safe. He said that only very little to none is passed on to breastmilk that may cause harm or reaction on Matilda. A BREASTFEEDING MOM OF A G6PD- DEFICIENT BABY DOESN’T NEED TO RESTRICT HER DIET AT ALL. And since I knew that this was the mild type, I trusted him and did not restrict my diet in any way. He also explained that he advise against diet restrictions when babies already start eating. What he suggested was to introduce one type of food at a time and observe for any reactions if there is any. Common immediate reactions are:

  • paleness (in darker-skinned kids, paleness is sometimes best seen in the mouth, especially on the lips or tongue)
  • jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes, particularly in newborns
  • an enlarged spleen
  • dark, tea-colored urine

So we followed what he said and just took extra care on the medicines and other substances that may pose a potential threat to Matilda’s health. Substances containing high oxidative properties such listed here:

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As you can see, there are a lot of things to avoid and most of them are food we, Filipinos usually eat. But as I have said, I never restricted Matilda to such foods. In fact, she eats them regularly but in moderation. It’s not that I am not concerned about her well-being but it is more for the fact that I want her to be able to live a normal life just like anybody else. Just like any food we have at home, we rotate them and never eat them every single day, so that saves me from the worry that she might be overly exposed at some point.

Matilda now 1 and a half years old is a healthy breastfed baby and a happy eater, too. We do not let her condition define her life, rather, we look at it as a blessing. A lot of people mistake G6PD Deficiency¬†for a sickness that is incurable and we aim to educate them that this is something you can live with. Something you can control. We pity those who are misinformed and those who are very cautious to the point that the life of the child becomes burdened with the thought that he is suffering physically and that his life is always at risk. Let’s not think this way and inform ourselves instead. Learn to do your research and do not rely on the internet for all the information. Not everything you will find there is true and reliable.

Most studies made about G6PD¬†Deficiency were done abroad. Countries like China and Indonesia where this condition is also prevalent. Another blessing that this condition bring is that people found to be positive with it are living in areas endemic with Malaria. Why? Researchers have found evidence that the parasite that causes this disease does not survive well in G6PD-deficient cells. So they believe that the deficiency may have developed as a protection against malaria. See? G6PD Deficiency¬†isn’t all that bad! Even though these studies are not yet a 100% proven, it gives me hope that God created this for a purpose. Just like here in the Philippines wherein Malaria is considered endemic, in Palawan and Tawi-Tawi specifically, it makes me at ease that she is somehow resistant to something. No, I don’t allow her to be bitten by mosquitoes because there’s still a chance she might have Dengue virus and we don’t want that either. But I’m sure you get my point! Anyway, if you looked at the list I included above, one particular group of medicines contraindicated are Antimalarial¬†drugs – these are medicines to treat or prevent Malaria. Amazing isn’t it? God made the condition in such a way that, yes, you may have G6PD Deficiency¬†but you are protected from Malaria and the harmful effects of the medicines needed to treat it. God is good, indeed!

Newborn screening is really important and I am glad that we have this available at any hospital. Because of this, we found out Matilda’s condition and also learned that Joey and I happen to have it too. At least now we know what (medicines) to avoid and what to do in case of emergency. It only goes to show that this is really common here in our country. And if your son or daughter has it, they got it from you as well. In our time, we don’t have this screening yet but we were able to live a normal life not needing to avoid anything. So please don’t over think the condition. Get yourselves informed and find a way to cope with it just like what I did.

People who have been tested and proven to have G6PD Defiency¬†are not allowed to donate blood so make sure you are aware of this. And based on my research, we are also at risk of developing Gout. This I did not find on the internet before, but I read in our Clinical Chemistry book way back in college. I believe that it’s true since Joey and his brother both have high levels of uric acid in their blood. This affects men more than women and it can be serious especially if you are overweight or if there are underlying medical conditions like Diabetes and Hypertension. Gout affects Joey’s brother more than the G6PD condition itself so it’s best to keep your diet away from food that triggers gout such as the one’s listed here:

Now that you are aware of G6PD Deficiency, what do you need to do as a parent?

1. Make sure to get a newborn screening procedure made for your baby. If you found out he/she is positive for G6PD Deficiency, get a confirmatory test right away and have his Pediatrician informed immediately.

2. Commit 100% to BREASTFEED YOUR CHILD. This will not only protect them from the dangers of feeding formula milk but it will also greatly benefit their health in the long run. Remember that formula milk is processed and it usually contains soy!

3. Make sure always have the list of things to avoid wherever you go. This will come in handy if ever your child needs any medical attention. Post it on the door of your fridge or if your child goes to school, insert it in this bag and inform him about the copy in case of emergency.

4. Inform every person your child interacts with. Let them know he is not sick and what they have is not contagious. Allow them to grow up understanding what it is they have and explain to them why there is a need to avoid certain things. Do not scare them or deprive them. The list only says to avoid but not to entirely eliminate them especially for the list of foods.

5. Allow you child to explore most especially with food. Let them eat those listed above, in moderation and just observe them for possible reactions. That way, you’ll be able to pinpoint which to avoid next time. I would suggest a food diary in the early months (6 months and above) when they start eating. That way you’ll be able to keep track of what they eat and be able to rotate them.

5. Lastly, take comfort in knowing that God is with you and will never forsake you.

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Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (NIV)

 

I hope I was able to share the most important things about G6PD. How about you? Is your child positive too? How are you coping with it? If you happen to have questions you may leave a comment and ask me. If I know the answer I will get back to you right away, but if not, I will do my research first then we’ll talk about it!