Summer Birthday Celebrant

The hubby and I are summer birthday celebrants and so is Baby Bear. The advantage of having a summer birthday is being able to exchange a party for an awesome trip. Since Baby Bear is still small and has clamored for a school birthday celebration, I decided to check with the school if this was okay. I didn’t feel right about celebrating a summer birthday way, way, way in advance since this might have some “spoiling” implications. Apparently, this was the norm for smaller kids! Teacher advised me to go ahead with the early celebration because as a kid, it really means a lot when their friends celebrate their birthday with them.

future party planner

future party planner

Baby Bear goes to a Montessori school. The rules there are very simple – birthdays aren’t as bonggacious as how other schools do it. No decor, no frills and fuss, just show up for your kids’ birthday celebration, bring HOME MADE food for the class (no commercial food or take-outs allowed), and loot bags are optional.

Baby Bear chose a princess-themed party since she was on a Disney princess craze. We had our favorite baker –  @regaustria make her simple princess cake and cupcakes for the classmates to bring home.

by @regaustria

by @regaustria

by @regaustria

by @regaustria

When we arrived in school, they started the birthday ritual promptly. Going through this beautiful birthday ritual made me understand why my introverted Baby Bear who absolutely hates parties was clamoring for one. The celebration was so heartwarming. It started out with the kids welcoming the parents. The three of us were placed in the hot seat and teacher asked me and the hubby to say something about how Baby Bear was as a baby. I told the class how Baby Bear used to be so quiet and cried a lot as a toddler, but ever since she joined this class, she has become such a happy and NOISY baby. I told the class she was having fun with her friends and can’t wait to go to school everyday just to see all of them.

Then, we moved on to the cake. All the kids had to fall in line first, greet the celebrant personally a Happy Birthday, give their gifts (if they have any), shake the hand of the celebrant and move on to the cake table.

birthday gifts and greetings

birthday gifts and greetings

shake a friend's hand

shake a friends’ hand

a hug from one of her favorite big sister in class

a hug from one of her favorite big sister in class

They all sang happy birthday to Baby Bear… and it was the first time Baby Bear wanted to blow out the candles! She has always shied away from candle-blowing since she gets conscious when all eyes zoom in on her. She really does love her school and is more at home with them, happily blowing out the candle and being such a good hostess. After that, we had a few class pictures and moved on to snack time.

happy birthday to you...

happy birthday to you…

one of the boys

one of the boys

what a sweet big brother

what a sweet big brother

Again, they fell in line, went to the tables and they all closed their eyes and said a prayer before the meal.

falling in line

falling in line

saying grace

saying grace

It was so nice being a part of this simple heartwarming celebration. It brings me back to the memories of childhood where we celebrated our birthdays with much anticipation. Unlike now, wherein we dread the coming of old age every birthday year. It’s also nice to see the values education that the school espouses in action. From greeting the birthday celebrant personally, all the way to saying a prayer before every meal. Mental note: I should do this at home also. I was so humbled by the kindness and grace of the children. So when Baby Bear came home from school with all her gifts from her friends, I made her write a thank you note for all the gifts she received. It was also good practice for her as by the nth card, she was already spelling all the thank you notes by herself without copying from my thank you post-it template for her to follow.

Moments like these makes us wish we were kids again and moments like these makes parenthood so emotionally fulfilling – seeing your kids happy and getting a glimpse of how they will be in the future. To my darling Baby Bear, I’m excited to celebrate your real birthday this summer. Thank you for teaching me to look forward to each birthday year as a celebration of living in-the-moment filled with happiness and a wonderful prospect of how turning a year older should be a joyous anticipation of what life has to bring. From now on, I do look forward to growing older, growing wiser and making more memories with my family. Happy Summer Birthday to all of us! 🙂

our little princess, we love you so much!

our little princess, we love you so much!

Baby Bear 1st Birthday Celebration – Ni Hao Kai Lan

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aKids’Life: Project Camille Shelves

OCMom alert! This OCMom just couldn’t stand the mess in her kids’ room anymore. With a toddler and a baby now sharing a common room in a condominium, there was suddenly no space for anything.

Project CAMILLE is a shelf that was built for a mom who wanted to copy the Montessori way of doing activities. When you visit the Montessori classrooms, all the activities are placed inside the shelves. You will not see anything on their work table or work areas. A child goes to a shelf and picks up the tray or bin of her chosen activity and brings it to his/her work area. I think this is a very ingenious concept. First, it teaches the kids early on how to make decisions. Second, it gives them the independence and free will to do what they want to do. At the same time, it teaches them to get their own stuff and return it in the proper place afterwards. Lastly, having a clean table gives you a sense of focus. You are not distracted by anything except for the activity that you have chosen. I sure could adopt that principle given the very messy office desk that I have. (mental note: clear out office desk) 🙂

Here are pictures of Project CAMILLE. Disclaimer: The shelves were still a bit messy as the toys on top of the shelf haven’t been segregated yet. If there were more space in the condominium, it would’ve been nice to add more shelves and to distribute the activities across the shelves to highlight the activities more. Currently, the activities are grouped into similarity due to the lack of space. Also, all shelves are adjustable to accommodate the height of the different bins.

trying to keep things clutter-free

trying to keep things clutter-free

IMG_6994

Another project finished! aKids’Life should be easy and enjoyable, enriching and emotionally fulfilling. They live in times where everything is so fast. There are so many new toys these days that we didn’t have when we were growing up. There is so much new information that comes in heaps! Kids of today have so much more to learn vs. during our time when all our focus was just on playing and sleeping. The Camille shelves is an example of a small, insignificant detail that we might not see as very important. To us, they are just mere shelves but in the bigger picture they somehow facilitate a faster processing of learning and development helping kids of today to become more empowered and focused in this very cluttered-information-overload world that they live in.  And to us OCMoms, the shelves are just for our sanity! 😉

To view other aKids’Life project, check out the following links:

Project Penelope, Project Kayla, Project Matteo

Project Gracie

Project Belle