Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vigilant Parenting

I’ve long recognized that raising kids these days is quite challenging given the many negative influences that surround us today. But last Sunday, this truth was emphasized to me even more by God when a family friend visited my parents’ house and conversed with my brother. Both of them uttered a bad word while talking to each other and exchanging friendly banter. They were totally oblivious to the fact that my baby and I were in front of them while they were conversing. I was so concerned because my son is at a stage when he likes to imitate so many things around him including the things that he hears from people. I talked to my mom about it and asked her to remind my brother and our family friend to be extra cautious with their speech when my child is around. My mom said that she has spoken to them already in the past; but because they have been so used to speech that is peppered with bad words or curses, they forget to refrain from doing that even when children are around.

Then, I realized today that I really need to be extra vigilant even in our own home because sometimes there are family members or other people who get near my child who do not realize the impact of their words or actions to the little ones. I told my mom that I will confront them the next time I hear them say another bad word or curse in front of my son. They may not agree with my views and parenting style but I will definitely put my foot down on this issue because it concerns my son. If I need to screen all those who will visit our house every time Yanthy is there, I will do it.

I take my role as a parent seriously because I believe that it is a sacred duty entrusted to me by God when I got married and when He blessed me with a child. I want to do my best to help my son build a strong foundation, a good conscience and a deep relationship with God. More than wealth and riches, I believe that this would be my best legacy to our son. That’s why while he is young and he still has a lot to learn, I do my best to expose him only to what is good. I screen the music, shows, literature, places and situations he would be exposed to. And now, because of this recent incident, I’ll be stricter as well in screening the people who can get near him.

I strongly believe that children are like sponge. They absorb almost everything around them. They’ll just surprise you one day with new words they have picked up from their environment. Sadly, my son learned to say one bad word that he heard his uncle say. He doesn’t know what it means or that it’s bad. It simply had impact on him when he heard it last Sunday and it stuck. I hope and pray that he stops saying it and gradually lose interest in saying it soon just like some of the words he learned in the past that he stopped using for one reason or another.

They say that it takes a village to raise a child. I’m in the process of building that village. I’m choosing very carefully whom I will invite to be part of our village. I’m choosing people who can and will support the values and teachings I impart to our son so that one day, when it’s time for him to leave our village, he would be equipped to make wise decisions. He would not be confused between right and wrong, good and evil. He would be guided by truth and wisdom. I pray that in spite of the many challenges we face in raising a godly child, I would someday be rewarded by hearing God tell me that I have done well in my duty of raising a son.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Yanthy’s Guardian Angel

Yanthy is exactly 17 months old today. How fast time flies! It was just like yesterday when we were watching him learn and take his first few steps inside his crib. He’s such a persevering baby. He kept on trying even without our help sometimes. He seems so eager to walk, run and explore the world around him.

Now that he runs very well, he speeds around the house a lot. I’m almost always on the brink of having a heart attack! He runs so fast without looking at where he’s going sometimes. Watching over him is much like riding a roller coaster with my heart jumping up and down inside my chest. I guess that’s how many little boys are. They’re so active that whoever is watching over them should be physically fit to keep up with them.

My little boy moves so fast. He darts from one place to another and one toy to the next. Last week, he gave me the creeps again. He got the pictures of Jesus from our altar and he kept saying, “Jees... Jees...” He can’t say Jesus yet; only the first syllable. But He is very familiar with Jesus’ pictures and statues. After turning around repeatedly while holding Jesus’ pictures, Yanthy dropped the pictures on the floor and went to his shelves. So I picked up the pictures and placed them back on the altar.

To my surprise, as soon as I turned around to look again for Yanthy, I saw him standing on top (back rest) of our arm chair while holding on and looking out our bedroom window. It was just a split second but he got there right away. I kept myself from reacting because it might excite him more which might cause him to slip and fall from where he’s standing. I walked slowly towards him as if there’s no big deal. Then, I embraced him tightly and brought him down from the arm chair. I told him not to go up there again unless Mom or Dad is right beside him because he might fall and hurt himself. I’m not sure if he understood. I just know that he was happy with his feat and that he enjoyed looking out the window watching the birds fly around the bamboo trees.

He could have gotten off balance. He could have broken an arm or leg or whatever if he had fallen from the chair. Thank God Yanthy was holding tightly at the window, he kept his balance and did not slide. And thank God for guardian angels. I know in my heart that although I do not see with my physical eyes, Yanthy’s guardian angel is watching over him and protecting him. I could no longer count the number of times that Yanthy fell or hit his head but did not seriously get hurt or didn’t get hurt at all. There were also times when we were able to prevent him from hitting the floor after falling from something. Those are heart-stopping moments! And yet, I’m grateful for all those times; for God never left our son’s side by sending him a guardian angel who dutifully protects him. Yanthy’s guardian angel must be so swift to keep up with him. He continues to run with Yanthy even when Yanthy has gone ahead of me or everyone who is watching him. I hope he doesn’t get tired watching over my baby because with Yanthy, he needs to work doubly hard.

I can’t thank God enough for the gift of guardian angels. So today, as we celebrate Yanthy’s gift of life, I celebrate the gift of guardian angels in our lives as well. I hope they don’t get tired guiding, helping and watching over us not only while we’re kids but until we get back home to “Jees.”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Our Little Assistant

We went to the grocery last night with Yanthy and just like in the past, he insisted on carrying something with him. So his Daddy gave him his diaper pack. It’s quite heavy for his size because it’s a 52-piece pack. But he eagerly pulled it all the way from the parking lot to our building. His Dad carried it as we went up three flights of stairs. But when we got to our floor, Yanthy took over again and pulled it from the hallway up to our condo unit. It’s so touching to see our baby very eager to assist us not only when we do the grocery but even when we are doing other chores in the house.

He also likes to help unpack the grocery bags and put the purchased items on the shelves. I remember one incident when he placed his things in the kitchen shelf instead of bringing them inside the bedroom. His Dad and I just laughed it off and said that his things looked good in our kitchen shelf but we need to bring them to the bedroom and place them in his shelves.

Another time, I was putting clothes inside the closets after the laundry delivered them to us. Yanthy excitedly got some of our clothes and placed some inside the closet. Since he doesn’t know yet where each type of clothing is placed, I simply thanked him and told him to watch Mommy first. And later on when he’s older and he could remember where things are kept; I would let him assist me.

This morning, while his Dad was getting ready and dressing up for work, Yanthy got a pair of socks from his Dad’s drawer and handed it to his Dad. My husband was very pleased. He encouraged Yanthy by asking Yanthy to get a handkerchief and a face towel also and by teaching him where they are placed inside the drawer. Yanthy happily obeyed and gave the requested items to his Dad. How sweet!

Our son is such a helpful little boy. He lightens our load both literally and figuratively speaking. I hope that he continues to be like that until he grows up to become an adult. Surely, he would capture not just our hearts but the hearts of everyone around him. I’m so proud of our little assistant!


My Baby

My little boy has been my source of joy these past days. One time he imitated my Little Teapot action while dancing. At another time, he did the actions while I sang “I have two hands...” Earlier, he opened and closed his hands when he heard me sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to him. For a while, I can only wonder if he’s learning or absorbing all the action songs I’m performing in front of him. Now, I’m getting my rewards! He’s so cute and adorable as I watch him do the actions for the songs.

Last night, my husband asked when our son would “really” start talking. Then, we agreed that maybe before he turns two years old or when he turns two. This afternoon, Yanthy surprised me when he said the word “baby” very clearly for the first time. Yanthy can already identify a lot of objects whether in real life or in books and magazines. But he can’t articulate a lot of them very clearly. Most of the time, he says the first syllable only of the word or something that sounds like it. Or in the case of most animals, he imitates the sounds that they make. This afternoon, he repeatedly said “baby” as he pointed at the pictures of babies in the magazine I was reading. He was playing in his crib and when he saw me read a magazine, he walked towards me. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say the word “baby” very clearly. I encouraged him by praising him and making a conversation with him. I said, “Yanthy is my baby.” He surprised me again when he said, “my baby.” I then asked him, “Who is my baby?” He gamely touched his chest as if saying me. Wow! This is the first time I heard him say two different words as if using phrases to communicate. Before, he would only use one word either repeatedly or say a word and add “momma” or “daddy.” Like he would say, “Momma... key...” Then he would pull me towards where we keep our keys to tell me that he wants me to get them for him. This time, it was different!

This is an exciting time for us! I’m excited to teach him nursery rhymes, songs and poems. I’m excited to hear him read. As early as a few months old, I already saw in him an interest in books. I wouldn’t be surprised if he would grow to be a bookworm like me. Ahhh... Slowly but surely, I’m rewarded for the many times I’ve talked, danced and sang to him. I realized that being a parent (especially a mom) is a lot similar to being a farmer. It takes a while before you get to see results on top of the soil. It can be challenging sometimes when you don’t see anything happening yet. But the truth is that growth is happening underneath the surface. Your plant or crop is growing roots. Then, slowly that growth is manifested upwards when it starts to grow a stem, leaf, trunk and fruits eventually.
This same principle applies to toddlers like my son. In the beginning, they just absorb all that’s around them through their five senses. Then, one day they start talking and you’d realize that they had been paying attention to a lot of things.

Thank you, Yanthy, for making my day very memorable! I’m looking forward to have many wonderful conversations with you in the future. Until then, Mommy would patiently teach you and take baby steps with you. I love you very much, son!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Carrying Him Always in My Heart

At first I felt relieved that I wouldn’t be carrying Yanthy for the meantime. He’s quite heavy now and my low back pains are killing me. I was advised recently by the doctor to refrain from lifting or carrying anything that’s heavy and that includes my baby. He also instructed me to refrain from bending or squatting. I should not sit or stand too long without changing my position every now and then to help my back muscles to heal and to prevent further damage.

My mom took over in taking care of Yanthy these past days. Thankfully, we found a new maid. Thus, I was relieved as well from doing household chores. Yanthy, however, sometimes insists to be carried by me. He simply was so used to that. It made me sad in the beginning to see him cry because I didn’t carry him. It broke my heart to see his tears falling down his cheeks while repeatedly saying, “Mom... Mom...” To comfort him, I would say, “Mommy would just embrace Yanthy since I can’t carry you.” Then, we would distract him with something else like his toys or objects in the house that he finds interesting. Eventually, his crying would stop.

It’s almost a week now since my doctor advised me of the things I can’t do for the meantime. Yanthy doesn’t cry as much or doesn’t cry anymore sometimes when he wants me to carry him and I refuse him and tell him that his grandma or our maid would carry him instead. I think he has gotten used to it somehow.

But there’s something that I realized as of late. I miss carrying Yanthy in my arms. I miss lifting him and putting him in my lap. I miss dancing with him cheek to cheek. And how can I not squat or bend whenever I am near my son? It’s almost impossible. He’s still small. I forget a lot of times that I shouldn’t be doing these things. Like Yanthy, I’m so used to being with him, doing almost anything with him. But I also know that I need to heed my doctor’s advice so I would be back in the pink of health soon. That would mean I can carry him again and there wouldn’t be as much limitations as there are now when I play with him again.

I may not be able to carry Yanthy physically these days. But I know that I carry him in my heart always. He may not understand fully now why Mommy has to temporarily stop carrying him. But I’m confident that when he grows up and I’m too old and frail, because of the strong bond that we share, he would have the confidence to think that Mom carries him always in her heart.