StartUp Book: French Kids Eat Everything

Hello 6 months! Well, Gummy Bear is 7 months already and has a voracious appetite for solid foods. My only problem is he is a bit of a picky eater. So far he doesn’t like bland cooked baby food so we always have to put in a little baby jar food mixed in just so that there is a bit of taste. Any body else with this kind of problem? I didn’t have any issues before with Baby Bear as she willingly gobbled up the cooked baby food.

I have had this book for awhile now on my bookshelf but I was waiting for the 6 month mark to really read this book. Wanted to time it as we start Food Training 101 for Gummy Bear.

french kids eat everything

french kids eat everything

I highly recommend this book. This is a book, not just for picky eaters but everyone who eats in general. Here are the highlights of the book:

french food rules

french food rules

I learned a lot from this book but what I want to harp on is MY biggest takeaway from this book. We have all been hearing about GRIT and how it is the key to raising good kids. Forming GRIT is something that is not easy to do. The book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character laments the fact that these days, kids have a strong sense of entitlement. We live in a very fast-paced world and since everything is within reach or literally at tip of our fingers, we are so used to having and getting everything that we want in just a snap. Our kids also have it lucky because our generation of parenting is quite different from the way our parents used to do it  before. We try to fill in the gaps of our parents who didn’t spend that much time with us since they were so busy working hard in order for us to have the luxurious life we have right now so we can afford more time to spend with our kids and have more money to splurge on them. In the book, How Children Succeed, Paul Tough states that the success of a kid has to do more with qualities that have something to do with developing skills like patience, perseverance, curiosity, self-control, and optimism. Going back to the book French Kids Eat Everything, kids are trained to sit through long dinners with adult conversations. We all know the adage that goes: a family that eats together, stays together. We may eat together but sometimes it’s either we are in a rush, looking at our cellphones, or nagging the kids to hurry up and eat. Dinner time should be a pleasant experience, a long affair (hello 3 course meals), and a time to bond over food and conversation. It also gives us the chance to bond together with the family and teach “life lessons”.

How does one teach life lessons over dinner:

Scenario: We are actually guilty of leaving Baby Bear to eat with the nanny because we feel that she eats more when we are not there. Typical girl, she loves chatting while eating – and when she chats, food is stuck on her mouth for a long time (read: babad) and it takes a longer time to swallow.

Life Lessons:

– Don’t talk when your mouth is full!

– The value of being patient and waiting for the all of the members to finish eating – While the essence of dinner time should be talking and catching up, this hasn’t worked for us since dinner becomes way longer and we are actually the ones without the patience to sit through it. 😦 I am learning to stop saying “hurry up and finish eating” and now, spend more time enjoying dessert and teaching stuff to Baby Bear over dinner.

– No one left behind and no gadgets should be used during the course of dinner –  – The few times that Baby Bear finishes eating before we do, she is itching to go down at once to play,  so this is quite a daunting task for me now. Especially when we are outside and the orders haven’t arrived yet, the default before was to let her play the iPad. We are training not just Baby Bear, but also ourselves to sit through our restaurant dinners without any distractions. We don’t allow iPhones or iPads during meals. We used to allow other distractions such as coloring, reading a book, stickers, toys, etc. but it was just the same as the iPad.We just substituted the distraction with another distraction, which just takes away the fun and interaction that supposedly came with dinner time as being the time to catch up on what is going on in each others’ lives. Consistent with another book that I read, Bringing Up Bebe, making them sit-through these dinners harps on the importance of letting kids sit down and develop patience by learning how to wait. I make Baby Bear sit through our dinners, let her listen to our work or household discussions. She doesn’t need to actively participate but she has to sit through them. In the long run, kids are supposed to learn from these adult conversations. This is where they get a chance to pick up “life lessons”. They can also simply be quiet and bored with the adult conversation. When they are bored they tend to daydream which sparks the creativity wheel in their brains.

– In line with our no gadgets policy, we have a strict no gadgets rule during weekdays. While Baby Bear constantly whines “unfair” because all her cousins can iPad anytime, we want her to have lots of free time to read books, play with her toys, spend time with Gummy Bear, go down to the park and play with her friends. She can also opt for alone time where she chooses what she wants to do by herself. The French believe that it is important that kids can play alone.

I think the French are really on to something when it comes to parenting their kids. Theirs may not be the perfect system but it is a good support to their belief in the importance of raising foodies and good children. To them, raising good kids start with teaching them to have good table manners. Having good table manners is a practice of good habits. Not only that, perfecting the art of eating and the habit of eating together, allows you to spend more time with your family members to bond over stories and life lessons. At the end of the day, it’s all about quality family time… it doesn’t hurt if our tummies are also happily satisfied in the process. Happy tummy, happy life! 🙂

 

 

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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

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

 

Welcome to the World, Gummy Bear!

Happy New Year, Happy 2015! New Year, New Baby! 🙂

I introduced Baby Bear in this blog 3 years ago, and now it’s Gummy Bear’s turn!

hello world! :)

hello world! 🙂

first time i opened my eyes

first time i opened my eyes

our christmas blessing

our christmas blessing

my first bath at home

my first bath at home – gummy bear was quite surprised but the next pictures will show how much he loves bath time!

all snuggled up

all snuggled up

happy 1st month, gummy bear! :)

happy 1st month, gummy bear! 🙂

Time truly flies! I was just blogging about the pregnancy and now he is a full month old!!!

Feeling so sentimental… so I had to take a trip down memory lane by also looking at Baby Bears’ pics. You can also view her pics here. I thought I was complete before when I met Baby Bear and never thought I could love another little human being. Now, my heart overflows with love for my whole family. It brings a whole new meaning to the line “you complete me!”. I can’t wait to share more milestones and adventures now that we are a family of 4 plus 1 dog! 🙂 I feel so blessed. Thank you Lord for all your blessings! Have a great year y’all! Let’s all have a wonderful 2015! 🙂

 

Happiness, is being a sister… having a brother :)

I first introduced Baby Bear in this blog with this entry, while I was also introducing my alter ego as a StartUp Mom. Now, I’m in the same cycle again in my life as I am happy to announce that Baby Bear will become a big sister soon… as in very soon! 🙂

hello gummi bear

hello gummy bear

We are expecting Gummy Bear this December!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 We purposely held off in announcing anything with everyone even family and friends because of what happened to us last year.  We lost our little tomato that time and we were so heartbroken. It took me awhile to prepare myself to have another baby again. I thought I would actually be a paranoid pregnant woman this time around with what happened but surprisingly I am a bit chillax with this one. Happy to say that this pregnancy has also been smooth sailing. With Baby Bear, I was even hospitalized twice due to excessive all-day morning sickness for the first 4 months. I lost a lot of weight back then and even had subchorionic hemorrhage.

I truly believe that all babies come from God and God didn’t forsake me during my bad year last year. He even gave me a baby boy just to sweeten the deal. 🙂 I am praying for a healthy and happy baby. He has given me a lot of happiness and love with Baby Bear and I can’t wait to experience the joy Gummy Bear will surely bring to our family.

I love Christmases and we can’t wait to meet our December baby. Christmas will surely come early this year and be doubly joyful for our family as we await the arrival of our little Gummy Bear. Thank you God for happy miracles and blessings. For happiness, is anyone, and anything, at all, that’s loved, by you! We love you so much already, Gummy Bear. Can’t wait to meet you! 🙂

My Second Alterego: StartUp Mom

I gave birth 10 months ago to a baby girl. To prepare for that momentous event, I prepared by reading the bible of all pregnant mommas, What to Expect While You’re Expecting!.  If that weren’t enough, I even downloaded apps for that and had an overload of google searches ranging from pregnancy, baby names, nursery rooms, etc. I was a research nazi.  With all the preparation in the world though, I was still taken by surprise when the actual day came.  We were setting up the nursery during my 37th week when we had to go to the hospital because the baby wasn’t moving. With no luggage packed, no baby stuff, not even a piece of overnight clothing, we gave birth that day via CS. Talk about a dramatic entrance to the world! She truly is my daughter!

Fast forward to 10 months, I am a struggling momma. I sometimes feel inadequate when I can’t make my baby go to sleep… when she doesn’t seem to want me and would rather have the nanny feed her. I am jealous of other moms who have happy babies who make cute googoogaga sounds. I envy mommies who have babies who quietly sit on their strollers or car seats. I feel guilty when the baby is crying her heart out and I just want to tune her out. I wonder how other moms do it… and still look so fab at the same time! I wonder what I did wrong along the way or why I have such a fussy baby. She is one feisty girl… she truly is my daughter!

I have heard the same complaints from my mom about me.  I was also such a hard-to-manage baby, always inconsolable.  I was never the “cute one” or the baby that makes you want to go “aww…”. But look how I turned out, right mum? 😉 Every day is a learning experience for me with my baby. There are days when I just want to crawl under the sheets and take a break. It’s really tiring to take care of a fussy young one but we have to make it work. I am one determined momma… I truly am my mothers’ daughter!

What have I learned these past 10 months?

–          In doubt, ask Google! We’re lucky to have the internet!

–          In doubt, ask your mommy friends! Been there, done that – experience is still the best teacher!

–          In doubt, ask your mom! They say you never truly appreciate your mom until you have kids of your own. 

–          Lastly, that you are not a SuperMom – not at the start, that is. We need help and we should never hesitate to ask for it…   especially from your husband.  It will actually surprise you how strong he can be for the both of you. 

My journey to Mommyhood is just unfolding. Each kid has their own personality.  I’d like to believe that I can be a good and patient mom… be responsible enough to help mold her to being the best person that she can be. As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids, we do the best we can — or we die trying! My baby is uber fussy, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.  I wouldn’t want to trade my baby for a cute giggly one, because she is mine and she is ME! They say, we have until the age of 7 to build a good, solid foundation for your kids. I am a StartUp Mom… I still have 6 years to screw up or make things right. Hopefully fussy turns to FUZZY feelings of love, because at the end of the day — THAT’s what makes it worth all our while.  🙂