Why send your kid to summer school?
I think most new parents are very anxious on leaving their child to a person whom they don't know personally for some hours to interact with other kids. Some doubts that kept on wondering in a parent's mind could be, "what if there's a bully who would hurt my child?" or "what if she starts looking for me and frantically screams the whole session?" or "what if she becomes bored as she doesn't have interest with their activities?"
Before the summer began, we were still having some doubts if Amanda is too young to go to school. Imagine, from three years old up to well 22, she'll be undergoing a rigid routine of waking up early, commuting to school and then being preoccupied with all the schoolwork with greater pressure as she becomes older.
Maybe I was thinking way advanced and looking at the disadvantage more than what the benefits we could get from having her attend school.
Two Fridays ago, it was Amanda's end of summer school. And guess what? I realized six surprising things that happened to Amanda as a result of her schooling:
It was amazing to see how Champee has grown in her communication skills after just three weeks of her summer class.
Last Tuesday, Champee was able to narrate her dream to Cali after waking up from her afternoon siesta. She told her that she had a very bad dream. "So what was your dream?", Cali said. "There was a giant hotdog that was running after me!", was Champee's reply with her eyes seemingly starting to cry. But then mommy was quick to respond that she's there and offered her something to eat to distract the fear from her dream.
It was a good plan, however, Cali forgot that the food they bought was "sopas". Yes, it was Champee's favorite, but everytime she eats it, she takes away the hotdogs as she really doesn't like the taste. Supposedly when we cook sopas, we dice the hotdogs so it doesn't look like one but unfortunately from where they bought this soup, you can easily recognize the hotdogs. So the distraction suddenly became a reminder again of her dream :)
I got curious how could a hotdog be so scary aside from being big so I googled up "giant hotdogs" and found the image above. And yes, it's scary indeed! Why would he put ketchup on his head? Is he planning to eat himself?! I don't have any idea who created this mascot but I'm sure I won't invite it on Champee's next birthday as it might trigger nightmares for her. (no offense to the creator it's just that my daughter doesn't appreciate giant scary hotdogs for now)
I don't think that I have inspired my wife enough on all her efforts for her motherhood. So I'm writing this week's blog to affirm all the sacrifices she made for me, Amanda and our little baby.
Prior to going full time mompreneur she has a great career in finance. She even got featured in a news feature for her retail stocks experience. She's also in a lead position where she's beginning to handle people and critical processes in the company she's working.
Since both of us are working we had no choice but to hire a nanny to take care of her while we're gone.
But then we had to decide... One night when we went home from work, we found Champee's face with bruises on her forehead and cheeks. Of course the nanny didn't admit what happened and that she made up stories of how that happened such that our daughter got crazy and hit her head with a remote multiple times. Take note she was just a year and a half years old then.
Trauma. Dishonesty. The real meaning of life.
Faced with such situation, I don't think any parent would still have the guts to hire another nanny and leave her child in the custody of someone we rarely know.
We also assessed why are we spending more than 12 hours of our time at the office, well in fact we're doing these to earn more money for Amanda and our future kids. Is the additional income of having both parents work really worth the time we're missing knowing that childhood can never be brought back when they are already grown ups?
Maybe for some couples it's a yes.
For us... No.
So now the question is who will take the sacrifice? Is it me or Cali?
In this patriarchal society the default should be the wife. But we were both open, of course at the back of my mind if I took the dive, I'm happy thinking about unlimited hours of playing, sleeping and doing something stupid so maybe that's what my wife thought ahead of me before I say yes. So to save our family from doom :) she took a hard decision and gave up her corporate life.
That sparked a change in our family life. Family is now on the top spot of the priority as we believed this is the primary calling of all moms and dads.
Luckily we have PnC photography that served as Cali's sideline. From corporate to mom - entrepreneur (mompreneur). From full time employee of taking care of the company's cash flow to witnessing the amazing daily transformation of Amanda with some financial benefits of the business on her own phase. From being in the comfort zone into taking risks and letting God do that math for the family's needs. Take note that being a full time is never easy. And top that with client meetings, sleepless nights on photo editing and being a CEO is harder than it looks. So with this I salute my wife for her hardwork.
Aside from her career, she pretty much deprioritize her shopping. Not that we don't gave budget on it but it's Mother's instinct to instead buy something for herself on her new clothes or shoes she ends up buying for Champee.
Unconditional love, commitment and hardwork. These are the values that made Mommy Cali the best mom in the whole universe for our little family. I may not have expressed my gratitude enough to tell all these but I just wanted to take this time to tell how much I thank Cali for all her sacrifices as a mom. We love you so much!
Last week, it was Champee's first time to go to school. Like other parents, we tried our very best to prepare her for the big day.
The plan was simple, that is to allow Champee to take a good rest on Sunday and then go up early in the morning to prepare to go to school.
Murphy's law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Since we came from a very long weekend for the Holy Week, our simple plan got derailed. We still went out that Sunday to maximize our time with our Cebu visitors. Even our plan for that day didn't happen the way we liked it as well. We're supposed to go to mass first, do the zip line and then go for a good dinner in Tagaytay.
What happened was, we got late for the mass in Tagaytay so we went out for a quick snack in mushroom burger. Good thing there's a nice playground there, making Champee super happy with the swing. Then we went to the Picnic Grove for zipline. We're expecting a lot of people going there since it's Easter, but wasn't expecting that there would be a mega-rally-like crowd. The people plus the blazing hot temperature equals not a relaxing vacation. So we ended up in a Starbucks nearby traveling miles away from home just to go to drink coffee. We ended the trip by going to mass at the Pink Sisters Convent and then went back home to have dinner at the Festival Mall in Alabang.
The plan to take a rest on Sunday, didn't materialize. We even had to get up early on Monday by 5 AM from Cavite to bring our guests (Tita Tei and Tito Kevin) to the airport and then head to Champee's school in Pasig for her first day. Although she just slept the whole road trip, it's still tiring for a three-year-old baby.
We were expecting a cranky girl when she woke up, but it was a miracle that she's excited to go to school and her mood was at an all-time high. Upon entering her school, she immediately hold her teacher's hand and went inside the room for their group activity. What's good was that she found a new favorite dance called the "Gummy Bear" and it was cute and fun watching her do the moves (see the YouTube video below)
First Day of School Learning: Vision.
When Champee went up to us saying that she wants to go to school, we were sure she's going to do good on her first day. Why? Simply because she developed that vision for herself. A goal that she wanted to do even without anyone forcing her. I'm sure she was influenced by Hi 5, Barney and Murray had a Little Lamb that sparked that idea in her young mind. So big thanks to the Disney Junior and YouTube for these great influencers :) But still she was able to hold on to that vision of finally going to school.
And from that time, we scouted for nearby preschools where she can grow more mentally, physically and spiritually. After months of research we chose the Mother Goose Playskool in Greenwoods, just three kilometers away from our castle (btw this is just Champee's name for our tiny condo unit, very far from being a castle). Apart from good reviews, it was the rapport that teacher UK (pardon my spelling mam if you're reading this) built with Champee so that convinced us to enroll for summer school.
First Week of School Learning: Good habits build a character.
As I begin to recall my past experiences, I was able to observe that all first days of any event becomes either extremely good or extremely bad. But definitely majority of them are good or even best experiences. And when you look at the output at the end of the activity or project, the first days may have a good impact but the first attempt doesn't dictate the outcome of any activity/project. What matters are the succeeding days if they were consistently good enough to arrive at the outcome I wanted.
Going back to Champee's schooling, we were happy with her first day. But I was quite anxious as to how we can make it through the succeeding days of replicating the good things that happened on her first day. As with NASA's Convex Goggles experiment, it will take 21 consecutive days to develop a habit. Meaning if we have that great first day, multiply it by 21 times, we can be assured to have a great schooling experience for Champee that could possibly last a lifetime.
All the while, I just thought that we're sending Champee to school to learn. Unknowingly, I think it was me who's learning more as we found more things to fix on my fatherhood as far as sleeping routine, time management, patience, sacrifice, commitment and love.
Sleeping routine - irregardless of how late I went home for work, I needed to get up before six to prepare not just breakfast now, but also her stuff for school.
Time Management - I became more conscious on spending time with her since her body clock finally got corrected during the first week of school. She now takes a nap after school, goes for play in the afternoon at the playground and sleeps early by 8 or 9. That's good for her, but I don't get to spend our late night playtime sessions anymore decreasing our bonding moments. So every weekday, I made sure to have a quick play time in the morning before she takes a bath.
Patience - Truly, this made me think on how my mom and dad became super patient with me when I was a toddler then. We can never really repay the hardships that our parents endure to raise us as good and oving adults. What we can always do is to pay forward these little acts of kindness even if our kids are uncooperative. For Champee, it was a struggle to have her setup for breakfast and bath time. It was really time consuming, but then again, what I observe is that there's really no other way to convince a toddler but to show that you understand where she's coming from. Then you act, then you reason, and then repeat until you can get her buy in.
Doing shortcuts and losing one's temper won't really get you anywhere as what happened to us when we got late last Friday. Sometimes as adults, I realized that the easy way out was to muscle our way in to let our child finish what should be done. However, I discovered that there's always an underlying reason why our kids behave that way. And scolding them, at the height of our emotions always lead to a negative result. I think that we can only scold our kids if we are on a controlled temper so as to clear our minds of our goal to correct our baby rather than just be reactive of the rejection we got from our child.and totally miss out the opportunity of having him or her learn from him or her mistakes.
Sacrifice, Commitment and Love - As a dad of a preschooler, I realized that in order to be consistent on doing something for someone, it takes sacrifice and commitment that is deeply rooted on unconditional love. I learned that as long as we made Champee feel loved, she always ends up doing the right things like for her school today, she got three smileys as she's the most behaved in her class despite being a little late today.
Beyond the First Day
During Champee's first day of class, her teacher requested us if she can call her Amanda (her real name is Amanda Claire)... and we said YES. And guess what Amanda means? It's "fit to be loved"
Maybe as dads or moms, even if our kids didn't have a happy first day, first or second week of school, let's help our little Amanda's have the best childhood experience they can have, after all every child deserves to be loved.
I'm a technology geek, photographer, musician and a rookie dad trying out to speak my mind through writing my daily experiences as a young Pinoy dad.