17 Lovely Gift Ideas For A Two-Year-Old

Our little Mori’s 2nd birthday is fast approaching and I send this message to all of our well-meaning friends and family, who wish to give presents to our bambina…

It is about time we address this concern of ours and we are really firm on saying this:

We love accepting all of your gifts for Mori. BUT ENOUGH TO PLASTIC AND/OR BATTERY OPERATED TOYS (AND HIGH END CLOTHES).

We have been very transparent with how we intend to raise Mori. We choose toys made of natural materials for her to play with, especially since she doesn’t need a lot anyway. We don’t allow her to have screen time and yet we still received expensive V-techs last year and tons of plastic toys. 

I’ll be very frank, we never allowed Mori to play with these things. We either donate them or give them away. 

I know that you mean well and that it is truly a joy to see Mori’s face light up when she opens a carefully-wrapped present that is meant for her to have. So I made a list of the things Mori (and our family) would truly appreciate, especially since we already started our Pre-school Homeschool just recently, July 1 to be exact. 

The items listed are practically useful for Mori’s holistic play and learning. Other than the fact that these toys/crafts are with made great-quality materials, some of them, if not, most of them are really cheap. Thus, preventing Mori’s Ninongs and Ninangs from breaking their savings!

ARTS and CRAFTS

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1.) 100% Natural Wool Felt

Price: P75 each.

Available at: Syd and Phoen Online Store

This will help make Mori’s peg dolls from Seed Studio Toys even more beautiful! Storytelling has been an essential part of Mori’s life since birth. She looks forward to it everyday. Its her daily dose of information with every story she hears. I use different peg dolls as characters in every story. Any color from the choices available at Syd and Phoen would be great!

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2.) 100% Wool Yarn

Price Range: P300-P600

Available at: Dreams Yarnshoppe at Glorietta 5. Other stores that sells yarn doesn’t have 100% Wool Yarn or is a blend of wool with a synthetic fiber.

Mori spends so much time removing the sleepwear of her baby doll and putting them back on over and over again. The thing is, her doll only has one pair of clothing. Having wool in hand will allow me to crochet more clothes for her doll to wear. I think Mori would really like that.

TOYS AND GAMES

 

4.) Debresk Wooden Doll Bed, Doll Chair and Doll Table.

Available at: Doll BedDoll ChairDoll Table.

Price Range: Set of 3 is worth P794

Alwyn and I bought Mori a very small doll during our last trip to Tokyo. It is smaller than my hand but I haven’t given it to her yet because I was hoping to present it to her with a wooden doll house but the ones I see online are pretty expensive and is out of our budget. If Mori would receive this set as a gift, I’ll be painting a shoebox to make it look like a miniature bedroom for her little dolly.

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5.) Mother’s Corn Bubbles

If you were to ask me what item Mori values most in our home, it will be this bottle of bubbles. Mori finds it very special because unlike regular bubbles available in the market, this bubble takes awhile to pop and she can stack them together with her hands.

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6.) Any from the Ostheimer Fairytale Figures

Price Range: $13-$40

A suggestion to our family and friends from the United States. I think this is more of what I want for Mori rather than what Mori wants for herself. Hehehe! Storytelling has been a part of our lives ever since Mori was born. We use peg dolls during story time (which happens everyday) but I really think it will be such a feast for her eyes too see such beautiful figures moving about while I tell her a story.

BOOKS

If you are planning to pick a book for Mori, there are a lot of books that will help us enrich our Homeschooling Journey together. Not just during her pre-school years but its content will still be useful for years to come.

All books listed below are available at an online store called Syd and Phoen. I tried looking for them in Fully Booked and other major bookstores but they don’t carry them.

(I included direct links to make it easy for you to find them.)

7.) The Individuality of Colour  – P1,800

8.)  Authentic Parenting  – P650

9..) Our Twelve Senses – P1,050

10.) The Children’s Year – P1,050

11.) Making Flower Children – P700

12.) Toymaking with Children

We are not requiring our family and friends to buy these things for Mori. We just want to avoid unnecessary spendings that comes from our loved ones. It also breaks our hearts every time we receive presents for her, only to realize that we need to store them in a box and preserve them as gifts for other kids.

I’m pretty sure all of us parents want to be practical, especially when buying gifts. That’s why I included stuff like the wool felt which will only cost each godfather or godmother Php75.00! You don’t have to give Mori anything expensive really. She enjoys playing with sticks and stones just the same as any child who loves playing with legos.

With that being said, I’d like you to know that we also consider the remaining 5 things to be valuable gifts… Way more valuable than the 12 things listed above:

1.) It would be nice for you to have real conversations with my two-year-old. Yes, she can handle it. No need for you to baby talk or limit your conversations to a few words because you feel that she won’t understand if it would be an entire sentence or a paragraph. Instead of asking hungry, food, meme, play? You can just tell her, “Mori if you are hungry just let me know, I’ll be right here on the sofa or we’ve been playing  tea party for quite awhile now. Do you want us to check on Neneng (her doll) to see if she wet her nappy? How about we play with bubbles outside? The weather is good“.

She’ll understand and really appreciates this little gestures. You can even tell her a story or simply tell her how your day went. When you leave our house, she’ll recall what you said and she’ll excitedly share it to me and her Tatay.

P.S. We’d love the company of family and friends over on a Monday at around 4 in the afternoon until 8 in the evening.

2.) Don’t call her dugyot or exaggeratedly say yuck! in the event that you see her dirty which is 99% of the time. My daughter is always playing outside. We allow her to roll in the mud, use it as clay, play lots of games that involves running so it is really not a big deal if she comes home all sweaty. There was this one night wherein she wouldn’t stop crying unless I make her wear a particular “dress” with flowers. She doesn’t want to sleep in her pajamas. She was pleading and saying: “Please Nanay, dress. Gusto ni Mori pretty. Please Nanay!” I recalled what happened during the day and I remember one of our neighbor telling Mori, “Yuuuck! Si Mori dungis dungis! Ligo ka na then wear a dress para pretty!” Right after bathing, I grabbed anything that my hand laid on on her dresser and lo and behold, before leaving the house our neighbor still stood at the exact location where I last saw her but this time around, she kept gushing about how beautiful Mori is. “Ang cute cute mo talaga Mori! So beautiful! Dapat lagi ka naka dress.” I remember Mori’s face lighting up. She was so happy. It was only during night time, when she started asking me to make her wear a dress that I realized that my daughter has a tendency to be a people pleaser. We all want to be loved and appreciated. Please be sensitive in your choice of words especially when you are directly talk to my daughter. Because of this incident, everyday, no matter what her physical state is I tell her that, “Anak, you are so beautiful. Mahal kita.” 

3.) WITH ALL CAPS: DO NOT make her watch cartoons, animation films or any form of entertainment available in local tv, Youtube, etc. PLEASE! And teaching my child that it will be “your secret and hers” just makes everything worse because you are unconsciously teaching my child that it is okay to lie. Believe me, we’d know it eventually. She’ll get my phone and beg for Beauty and The Beast, Moana or Peppa Pig all day. Since I won’t give in, she’ll get desperate and end up calling the name of the person who made her watch the shows I’ve mentioned above.

4.) For the love of God, enough with the UNNECESSARY matchmaking.

Worldly comments like:

“[insert name of your son] diba Mori is your girlfriend?”

OR

“Uuuyyy! Si [insert name of your son], kinikilig!”

are not welcome. They are not even flattering.

What makes it worse, is when a child is instructed to kiss Mori. I’d like to explain why but I’ll just reserve that to a different post because it is going to be a long one.

The simplest explanation could be: IT IS PLAIN UNNECESSARY.

5.) Don’t react negatively when you see my daughter with a scratch or a bruise. “Ayan ang kulit kulit mo kasi! Takbo ka ng takbo, akyat ng akayat. Ayan! Nalaglag ka tuloy!” Saying these words to my child is not helping her in any way. The reason why she is running like crazy, climbing the stairs a million times, taking our clothes outside the dresser then placing them back over and over is because that’s what children do. It is not normal for a child to sit for long periods of time. You can just take her hand and bring her to an area where you can clean her wound. If she still wants to climb the stairs and the very thought scares you, she’ll value the experience more if you’d climb it with her.

Its been two beautiful years since we had Mori and there is a lot more that we need to learn as parents but I hope this blog entry gave you an idea on what can be a good addition to your toddler’s birthday registry if any.

~ Jennica

 

Month of May: A Call for Change

Hello WORLD! ❤ My heart is filled with excitement and joy as I write this for you from the comforts of my home. As my husband puts it, “change is inevitable” and to me personally, change is good especially when done for the better.

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This photo is not mine. It is from Mario Nevado’s CD cover art about climate change.

Last month, I realized that I don’t take a break. In fact, I found out that I have a habit of wanting to do something constantly, verbally giving out excuses to myself to justify that things needs to be done and finally complaining to myself before going to bed that “I am just sooo tired”. Get the picture?

In my 27 years of existence, I haven’t truly faced my weaknesses and this my friend is what I long to change. Yes, I will list them all here to remind myself and inspire you to write down your own weaknesses as well so we can both move forward and enjoy life without fear, worldly things and insecurities blocking our way.

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  1. Ballet

That’s my MOM! Oh the pressure of being her daughter. Hehe! Isn’t she beautiful? This photo is taken from an award winning indie movie that she did a few years back. She has no background in ballet but unlike me, she has always been a graceful dancer. The art of ballet is something that I always wanted to do but never really had the courage to do so. I remember telling my 17 years old self: “Jennica, ballet dancers are good because they started when they were 2 years old. You’re old already, you’ll break a vein. Scratch that, you’ll break a bone!” Fast forward to today, I am now 27, 10 years has past since I said those lines and you know what irritates me? I can’t believe I called myself old at 17! What was I even thinking?! If I don’t start taking ballet lessons today, I think I’ll regret it later on in life. Mori is showing signs that she enjoys dancing, well, I’d like to join her dance and not just watch her strut her stuff from a distance. Ballet school it is!

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3 weeks old baby Mori

2. Sleep

I started working as a television and movie actress at the age of 18 and stopped working full time when I got pregnant at 25. With that kind of job, it is normal to work for 24 hours a day and sometimes even more. Since I’ve been so used to it, naging magaling ako sa puyatan. I honestly believe that I’ve mastered it and unfortunately, it is something that I apply to this very day, even if there is no longer a need for it. Because I focus on taking good care of my husband, looking after Mori and tending our home during the day, I look forward to late nights (10:00PM-4:00AM) so I can do things for myself. Things that I’ve been aching to do while my husband and toddler is awake but just can’t, due to my responsibilities like cleaning, cooking, gardening, nature walks, storytelling etc. It became a habit and to give you an over view of how my daily life is like it’s like this… We all wake up at 9 or 10 in the morning. Mori sleeps between 8PM-10PM then I stay up till 4 in the morning the following day. I either read a good book, work on future workshops that I wish to host, watch korean drama’s online or get my hands on some craft work like embroidery, sculpting, painting, knittting, crocheting or my most favorite past time which is sewing dolls! Starting this May, this is what I wish to change… I plan to wake up at 6 in the morning and be in bed by 9:30 in the evening with the hope that I am already knocked out by 10. Meaning, instead of doing things that relaxes me late at night, I do them early in the morning. I’ll let you know if I am able to pull this off!

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Hand sewn using traditional dollmaking techniques, stuffed with sheep’s wool that is not sprayed with chemicals and pesticides. Hair is a blend of natural silk and mohair. Face and body is softly sculpted for long hours while the eyes were lovingly embroided with GOTS Certified Organic Cotton. This doll is organic from the inside out. Materials used were made from companies who treat workers, animals and the environment with respect. 

3. Manika Marahuyo (Doll Company)

I never thought starting a Doll Company would be so hard, especially since I have no plans in mass producing them. A natural fiber art doll that is made by hand can take 15-40 hours to finish. This month of May, I intend to finish at least three dolls so I could launch Manika Marahuyo. Manika means doll in our native language which is Tagalog while Marahuyo is an adjective that means, ‘to be enchanted’. I computed the cost and since the price can be steep due to the materials, shipping them here alone takes me about $100. That’s 5,000 in Philippines Peso plus labor which is the amount of work I put into each doll… I have a feeling that our market will be US and Europe. Because of this, my husband and I picked a brand name which is tagalog. I want my creations to represent the Philippines since most doll artist that are famous for making collectible dolls are from faraway countries.

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4. Spiritual Discipline 

While others struggle with peer pressure, worldly things and whatnot, my weakness has always been spiritual discipline and going out of my way to love and serve. It is very difficult for me to be still and surrender myself in prayer. When I do I start praying and it is the same when I am reading my Bible, in the middle of it all my mind starts wandering somewhere else. When I close my eyes and kneel to do my quiet time before going to bed, I just lose it! When I open my eyes once more, the sun has already risen and breakfast has to me made pronto for the family.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said,

“If Christians lived according to their faith, there would be no more Hindu left in India.”

As author Joana Weaver said in her book, ‘Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World’,

This great leader of the Indian nation was fascinated at the thought of knowing Christ. But when he met Christians, he felt let down. Unfortunately, the world is filled with people who feel the same. They are intrigued by the claims of Christ, but they shrink back because of the disappointment with his offspring. “Don’t look at people,” we might protest. “Look at Jesus.” But while that may be true, the sobering truth remains: Whether we like it or not, we’re the only Jesus some will ever see.

Dwight L. Moody put it this way:

Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian.

I feel like bawling in tears as I type this. Satan really has his ways to make us lose sight of what’s really needed in our life. The only thing that we need, really. How can I even sing at the top of my lungs in church that ‘Lord you are all I need, Lord you have my heart’ when a day passes without having one decent conversation with my Creator. When I don’t even invite him to come into my life. My Creator who has been nothing but good to me… Whose hands were pierced with the thoughts of me.. Beaten to death with thoughts of YOU.

Henry Blackaby reminds us in his book, ‘Experiencing God’,

Jesus did nothing of his own initiative, according to John 5:19. Instead the Son did “only what he [saw] his Father doing.

I am inviting you to join me. Let us connect ourselves back to the Vine so that we can  start bearing fruits that would enable us to be in the likeness of Christ Jesus our Lord (Read John 15:1-17).

5.  Internet Hiatus

Now unto the final change that I wish to apply is having limited access to internet. With all the things that I wish to accomplish for this month, I just feel that I will have a difficult time making it a reality if I have the world wide web distracting me. Now I have a group and a page that needs to be managed which is Kalinga Ni Nanay…  The best I could do is be online every Wednesday for 2 hours only and post a photo or an article on a Saturday to remain in the loop on both Instagram and Facebook.

To the moms who are members of Kalinga Ni Nanay, please check the pinned post of our private group, I indicated my mobile number so that you can reach me if there is an emergency.

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Organic raspberry shake for Mori

Now I urge you to grab a drink and get a hold of your planner if you have one. Write down your priorities and the dreams that you’ve chosen to bury deep in your heart because your current work is making it impossible for you to actually do or your age is causing you to have doubts or whatever reason the world is throwing at you.

Think of ways on how you can make it happen but this time, include Jesus and watch your dream become a reality.

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Mori is cheering you on!

Thank you for dropping by to read what I have to say. You’re awesome! ❤

Love,

Jennica

Mori’s 1st Easter

We woke up at 6:30 in the morning to prepare for Mori’s 1st Easter Egg Hunt. I never got to experience this as a child so I was honestly looking forward to it too.

 All photos are taken by my husband, Alwyn of @alwynadventures on instagram unless stated otherwise.

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It took us 2 hours to get to our destination. The drive might be long but always worth it once we get there.

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Oh the fresh air that naturally smells sweet because of the flowers in our surroundings.

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As we stepped out of the car, I had a feeling that today would be a good day. And indeed, it was… 🍃🌻🎍

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Mori’s Lola Lisa joined us for Easter.

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Having her with us allowed me to have time for myself.

I took the book out from my bag and sat in a corner when a ladybug kept me company. They can be very thoughtful if they wanted to… 🐞

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I was able to restock our pantry and take home some plants with us. Our okra, pineapple, onion, tomato and ginseng will be happy with their new friends lemongrass and mint. ❤

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Mori was busy picking all sorts of things from the ground.

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She held unto this tomato as if her life depended on it. Mori’s little antics never fail to make me and her father laugh every once in a while.

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I almost forgot to share that a spider also went out of his way to greet us good morning. 🕷🕸 Now that I am looking at this photo, I am reminded that it was Easter Sunday of 2013, ang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay ng Panginoon when Alwyn asked for my hand in marriage. 💍

It was the beginning of my forever. 💕

I did not intend to share how our Easter went but I figured that I should blog about it anyway because yesterday, Mori suprised me…

My only child is no longer a baby.

She was making an effort to sew just like how I do it on a daily basis in our home and how the older children in her surroundings are currently doing it.

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Photo taken with my iPhone

She managed to find two eggs with very little help from me!

Photo taken with an iPhone

A week before Easter, she also found a very special dragon egg by the creek but we didn’t take it home with us. 🐲 Dragon eggs needs the warmth of their mother in order for it to survive. 🐉

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Mori gave the dragon egg one last look before she bid farewell.

When her Father held her in his arms while  I watch them from a distance, I noticed that she has gotten slimmer and taller. No more triple chin and baby rolls for this young lady. When did this change started?

These priceless moments constantly provide enough assurance that somehow, my decision to not have a commitment with the entertainment industry is all worth it. This decision must be made so I could focus on my family.

I leave everything to faith. Faith that in Him and through Him, our family will remain  fed and that Jesus will always put a roof over our heads.

Time will come that even if I want to be right next to my daughter in every milestone of her life, some moments will require for Mori to experience it alone. When that time comes and I hope that it’s not too soon… I’d like to think that networks would still open their door for me. That even if there are hundreds of stars out there, there will always be room for one more.

I’d like to end with this letter with the hope that teenager Mori would one day read it…

Dear Mori,
I never really understood what it meant to continuously be forgiven for my wrongdoings until I had you. There is nothing that you could do that would make me love you less. When I came to realize this, I fell to my knees. Paano pa ang pagmamahal sa atin ng nag iisang Diyos. So this is what it truly means to be loved, forgiven and saved. Salamat anak. Having the Almighty One as our Father gives peace in my heart that your future will be bright. I am looking forward for the day to come wherein we would share stories on how we both encountered Jesus. We will sing praises to Him all the days of our life and when the time comes that you’ll feel lost in this world, yes anak, there will be scary days, days where you’ll ask yourself if life is worth living… I will remind you that the life that we have is temporary and that there is a place called heaven to look forward to. The emptiness that you will one day feel in your heart is something that I also felt, it’s something that each and every one in this will world will experience. It is because we all need a Savior, Mori. I’d pour all the love in my heart to you but it will never be enough because there is that space in the corner of your heart that only God could fill. Believe in the man who died on the cross for your life, Mori. The Bible has everything that you need to know about God. This is what He left us with before joining our Creator in heaven. No matter what other people say, trust that His word is true. You may not have everything that you wish to possess in this world but as long as you have God, you have everything. That is all you’d ever need. I love you Mori, mahal na mahal kita anak.

Yours forever,

Nanay

The Truth About Natural Infant Hygiene

There are 2 articles that I’ve been seeing on my Facebook feed for days now. It’s about the ‘Dangers of Early Potty Training’. I tried my best to let it go and not join the ongoing debate in the comments section between moms who are Pro and Anti-Natural Infant Hygiene especially since the man who wrote the article is a Pediatric Urologist but it got me thinking… Why should I be afraid to speak my mind when I know in my heart that I chose this path for my child because the practice is nurturing, loving, trust building and natural? The exact opposite of what most people of today look at NIH (Natural Infant Hygiene). I am from the Philippines and not all my countrymen are aware of Natural Infant Hygiene. It is often frowned upon and misunderstood. I am a Certified Natural Infant Hygiene Consultant by Go Diaper Free and my NIH and Potty Training classes for the year are already set. If I will keep my thoughts in the boundaries of my classes and Private Group, who will defend my advocacy against these speculations?

Instead of answering concerns and questions one by one, I will give my very best in answering all of them through this article.

Just like with breastfeeding. The extended breastfeeding mom is not better than the formula feeding mom. Nor is the mom who makes sure their child gets vaccinated on time when compared to the mom who chooses not to vaccinate at all. The exact same thing applies with Natural Infant Hygiene.

Here are the 2 articles that I’ve mentioned earlier:

Dr. Steve Hodges on Potty Training

The Dangers Of Potty Training Too Early (Dr. Steve Hodges)

Now, before showing articles that is a rebutall to Dr. Hodges statements, I’d like to share my personal take on the matter first.

If you will read the first article that I shared carefully, Dr. Hodges message is more about poor diet and constipation than early potty training. It is a sad reality that just because he is a doctor, whatever it is that he says is automatically considered a fact when their truth is not all doctors have the same approach towards potty training.  Just like with breastfeeding, there will be doctors who would ask their patients to stop nursing if the mom is sick and recommend a particular formula milk but then there will be doctors who would advise to continue breastfeeding because the mother’s quality of milk is not lessened because of her sickness. It is the exact same thing with NIH. There will be doctors who would vouch for NIH (Natural Infant Hygiene) and there will be those who choose to not see the benefits of it.

Both articles are clearly about bad potty training and mind you, there are so many methods. In both articles from the same author, it’s been generalized to the point that moms who are successful at NIH (child is already potty trained before their first birthday for example) are easily shamed. His statement that “Anyone under 3 can’t tell you when they need to go so they hold it” is a proof that he doesn’t have a first hand experience on how NIH is practiced. I’d also like to point out that in his article, he is basically saying that once a child is already potty trained, the decision on when to eliminate will be entirely up to them. This is something that I strongly disagree with. Even if their sons and daughters are already 18 years of age, they are of no exception. When a family goes for a long drive, they are remind them to use the restroom because the next acceptable receptacle area might take awhile. If you’d compare it to eating it’s like saying, “If you teach your child to eat on his own early in his life, he will starve to death because he will eventually forget to eat.” That won’t happen to the child correct? Because as a responsible parent, you will be present to parent around the subject, always making sure that the needs of your child is being met. Not all mothers all over the world has access to diapers but their sons and daughters do not pee all over them. How do you think that’s possible? It is through Natural Infant Hygiene, Dr. Hodges.

I’d also like to share that before writing this, I had a conversation about the matter with my good friends because one of them shared this article, ‘The Dangers of Potty Training Early’ on their newsfeed. I asked their permission if I could share how our healthy conversation went and thankfully, they agreed so here it is:

Angela wrote: “I wanted to do EC (Elimination Communication) with my kid after he was born, but wasn’t able to do so because he consistently peed or pooped a few seconds into breastfeeding, and I didn’t want to take him away from the breast to potty train him. Now that he’s some months away from 2 years old, I’m starting to look into the potty training conversation again. One side says to start at age 2 or 3, while some say to start later and let the child initiate the potty training themselves. If you have already potty trained your kid, remember to give them many chances throughout the day to use the toilet. Don’t wait for your kid to let you know since most kids would rather hold in pee or poop instead of interrupting their play. If you are like me, still deciding when is the right time, then this article will give you confidence in delaying until your child asks you to teach him or her. The author, a pediatric urologist, says it’s fine to wait several years to allow the bladder and rectum grow bigger.” While another friend, Bonnie left a comment and said: “We were supposed to start potty training but Sean is giving out signs that he doesn’t want to. He is already 2.5 years old. Although sometimes he verbally tells me that he wants to poop but the truth is he will only pee. He doesn’t like it when he is not wearing a nappy. There was a time wherein I took his nappy off and told him that if you have to poop or pee tell me okay? After while, he started eliminating (pee) and then he got afraid because he got wet. It was as if he got traumatized so since then, he doesn’t like it when I don’t put a nappy on him on. I didn’t want to force him to hold it if he needs to go just for the sake of training him. I know of babies that’s already potty trained as early as 1. But I think Sean is still not ready. Oh well…”

This was my response to them:

Natural Infant Hygiene is my advocacy so I’d like to share some things that I believe is often overlooked or misunderstood. The “readiness” issue has been going on since 1962. It started with this one study that says “Wait til the child is ready and take it slow. Let the child lead this process.”  A note on the date of publication, it was 1962 just a year or 2 after disposables were invented. Disposable Diapers were invented on 1959, patented on 1961. Makes sense? Readiness is a myth created by diaper companies which was associated with a pediatrician in 1962 and was promoted by T.berry Brazelton, head of the Pampers Institute. Also, according to New York Times in the year 1999, 92% of children in 1957 were toilet trained by 18 months (1 year and 6 months) before disposable diapers were invented in 1957.  This means almost 100% of children were Potty Trained between 9-18 months which is why I strongly believe that if the children were capable then, they are definitely still capable now. Babies are born signalling. I refrain from using the term infant potty training because it can easily have others raise their eyebrows on the matter. I think what most people in today’s generation does not know is how Natural Infant Hygiene is gentle and that having a potty trained child is simply the inevitable outcome of giving opportunities for the child to use the potty instead of allowing them to use a diaper as their walking toilet from birth. If I were to describe Natural Infant Hygiene or Elimination Communication as you call it in one sentence it would be, “Lovingly changing a child’s diaper as soon as they soil themselves.” That’s it. If you will come to think of it, how come the mothers in the mountains are able to keep themselves dry despite their child being close to their bodies all day? How come in the year 1957, our moms are already toilet trained between 12-18 months? Did our grandma’s “trained” them to use the potty? They didn’t because there was no waterproof cover, they had no choice but to change into a fresh nappy as soon as baby wets themselves or else they will have a puddle on the floor. They had a bowl/potty/arinola ready and would assist the baby there. The child eventually gets it that “oh pee goes in the potty” without the pressure, reward (cookie, stickers etc.) or even consequences for not using the potty. This is the reason why between 9-18 months of age, the babies of 1957 are already potty trained. I ask my clients who are wary to ask their grandparents, “what age did mom started using the potty?” They’d answer, “Oh I don’t quite remember but I could certainly recall that they already know how to use the potty before their first birthday.” When asked about the “process or steps” they went through  to achieve this, they’d indicate the steps that are followed and encouraged when practicing Natural Infant Hygiene. It’s just that, our grandparents do not know that it is how millenials or the people of today call it. Angela, you’ve mentioned that your baby would pee a few seconds after breastfeeding. This is why if a parent would really look into NIH they would know that they could put a tabo/small bowl/wide mouthed mason jar or an empty ice cream tub in between their legs to catch the pee while baby is in a cradle hold so that the bonding between breastfeeding is not interupted and that respect to the child’s space is honored. NIH   is very beautiful. I am smiling while typing this because I remember the days when my own daughter was still so small and we were doing what I just mentioned while in a rocking chair at my mother in law’s house in Marikna. There is absolutely no force required in the process of NIH. People around me would often wonder why my daughter, Mori, is not a cry baby back when she was still very small and I would always give the credit to NIH. Because of it, I was able to get the full trust of my newborn infant. I can tell from her eyes that she is confident that Nanay (Mommy) knows when I am hungry, Nanay knows when I am sleepy, I have a kabag (air in the stomach), I am not feeling well and not just that! My Nanay (Mommy) also knows when I have to use the potty. She is beaming with confidence and that confidence overflowed to me as well. There is more peace in the home because even before the whining starts it has been taken good care of. I understood early on that the need for an infant to cry is not present when the needs of an infant is met on a timely manner and with Bonnie’s situation, her son’s reaction when he urinated and wet himself is very common for his age. It is very understandable because his diaper is the only acceptable receptacle area that he knew since birth. Now I am not saying that “okay, everyone must practice NIH or this is the only correct way or best way.” We all know that there no one perfect way to parenting. I just had to share because it is my heart’s desire that people all over the world, not just the Philippines would know that they have another option aside from using disposables or cloth nappies. That there is also such a thing as NIH and clearly, it is not a new trend and that the best thing about it is that it’s benefits goes way beyond the parent and child but also flows down to mother earth. It is the exact same practice that our grandparents have been doing way before disposable diapers came into the picture.

If you are wondering how my well meaning friends responded afterwards, Bonnie said maybe she is just lost in the process. Not knowing the how to’s really and would like to attend one of my classes since her child is already 2 years old to know more about NIH while Angela whose son is a few months away from turning 2 chose to lean more on waiting for his child to initiate. She’d rather wait for her child to see her using the toilet and if he shows interest, she would explain it to him but if not then that is fine too.

In the end, Bonnie opened her heart to the idea of NIH, which I am grateful for. While Angela, a mother who I truly admire since the day I first met her chose a different path.

The point is, it is very easy for mothers to feel guilty or lacking in some areas when it comes to raising their child so when defending NIH I am very careful with my choice of words because no you are not wrong if your heart tells you that you should wait a little longer but if you choose to start now, even if it means starting from the day your child is born, then that is okay too. It is a practice that has been going on for 100,000 of years and you are not in any way damaging your child psychologically or physiologically in the process.

If you’d like to know more about my advocacy, I have classes that’s already set for the year in Metro Manila.

Our next Natural Infant Hygiene (for babies 0-18 months) and Potty Training Class (18 months and up) is this coming April 23, 2017. That’s a Sunday and would last from 1:30PM-5:00PM at The Parenting Emporium in New Manila, Quezon City. To secure yourself a seat, email us at kalinganinanay@gmail.com

For Provincial areas, if you can form a small group of people who can commit into attending, send us an email at kalinganinanay@gmail.com so we can work something out.

Stay updated by liking our Official Page:

Kalinga Ni Nanay on Facebook

Articles that advocates Natural Infant Hygiene:

Jamie Glowacki, Author and Advocate for Children Response To Dr. Hodges Claims

Moorea of Savvy Parenting Support

Books that tackle how other cultures handle pottying from infancy today and during the olden times:

The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff

Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapated To Modern Living by Laurie Boucke

Fashion: Dressed In 5

My life changed when I married my husband. And just when I thought that was the biggest change in my life, out comes Mori into our lives, giving me yet another taste of life’s  pleasures.

There happened  to be big responsibility attached when having a family and worrying about my physical appearance everyday could be the least of my priorities.

1 Samuel 16:7 says, But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

I’ve hold on to this verse for as long as I could remember to the extent that I didn’t even bother putting a little make up on even if the celebration or event requires of it.

I am so confident about my husband’s faithfulness towards me to the point that most of the time, I don’t even bother brushing my hair before leaving the house. Ironing my clothes before I wear them is not even an option for me due to the pressure of time and despite my effort to prepare early, still, I couldn’t find enough time to beautify myself.

Yes, God called me to have discernment over what’s important in my life, to set my priorities and to have a heart like of Jesus. But that doesn’t say that I have the right to give little importance of myself and not to look presentable. In fact, my husband and I discussed how crucial for public figures like us to look decent in public. God gave me an impression early this year, that when I present myself to other people, I am not just Jennica, the wife of Alwyn. Nor am I only a mom to Mori.

I am first and foremost the daughter of the one true God, Jesus Christ.

This is what inspired me to still take good care of myself, to nurture myself not just spiritually and emotionally, but also physically as I represent Jesus wherever I go.

Because of this, I tweaked our rhythm in the home a little bit. It was so sweet to hear Jesus tell me that it is not a sin to also want some things for myself even if I am already married and with a child… I pushed myself to visit my dermatologist every once in a while. Since we came back from our Japan trip, I booked myself a massage and it felt really good! Next week, I intend to start a new routine, doing yoga practises at home during Mori’s afternoon naps.

One thing I discovered recently is my wardrobe. I took some time to reassess it and now I am planning to revamp my closet. This gives me more reason to share to all of you why I am writing this blog.
With no time to spare on choosing the right clothes to wear everyday, 5 Minutes shop gave the answer to my current fashion problems.


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Brand Statement

We understand the amount of time and effort you put when getting dressed. Our goal is to give you a working closet that can be relied on to get you out the door in 5 minutes while still looking chic and put together. Time to invest in staples that work well with anything, anytime, anywhere.


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5 Minutes. A clothing line with classic and timeless pieces. Beautiful right? These are kind of staples that you’d want in your closet. Damit na hindi namimili ng occasion. You can wear it to the mall but you can also wear it during special occasions. Would look fabulous either way. I was just supposed to share the photos but as usual, my madaldal self kicked in once more and started sharing my most recent learnings and realizations. It is just so easy to feel guilty when your a mom, correct? I just want you to know that you are not the only one! Whether you are a stay at home or you work full time, breastfeeding or formula feeding, cloth diapering or using disposables… You are doing great. Next to God, there is no one who could give your child the best kind of love but YOU.  Breathe Momma,  you are not being unfair when you choose to do things for yourself. You are doing the best that you can and continue doing that one day at a time. When your baby is big enough, he or she would tell you how grateful they are for having a mom like you.

Big Hug,

Jennica

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WEBSITE: http://www.shop5minutes.com

INSTAGRAM: @shop5minutes

FACEBOOK: Shop5Minutes

#dressedin5minutes

Homemade Tea And Healthy Snacks In 15 Minutes

I never thought I’d value time more than I do now that I am a mother. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, there are just so many things that needs to be done!

I’m the type of mom who easily gets guilty when I give food that is not meant to nourish the body and just meant to fill the stomach. Sometimes, I’m just left with no choice because the restaurants around with healthy choices are expensive and out of our weekly budget or I failed to prepare food before leaving the house.

Because of this, I decided to be creative and purposely think of ways on how I can prepare healthy snacks with very little time. So here’s a healthy recipe that will only take 15 minutes of your precious time!

Ingredients:

3 Organic Bananas

3 Cups of Hot Water

1 Organic Corn/Purple Corn

1 Free Range and Organic Egg

1 Organic Carrot

Optional: Organic Cinnamon Powder

Procedure:

  1. Before anything else, place hot water in a cooking pot and put to boil.

 

The peels of regular bananas are full of pesticides. If you are not using organic bananas for this recipe, please remove its peel. When choosing bananas, you’d want to get the ones with lots of black spot or batik in tagalog instead of the smooth, evenly shaped and  perfectly yellow in color variety.

2. Wash the organic bananas in running water and cut its ends.

3. Do the same with the egg and corn, wash them in running water. I chopped the corn into three because my cooking pot is small but doing so is not necessary.

3. Once the water is already boiling, add the bananas and corn, notice that I included the corn husk? This will add flavor to your tea for later. I forgot to take a photo but this is also the perfect time to add in your carrots or whatever vegetable you have available. It can be broccoli or sweet potato. Whatever floats your boat really.

4. Close the pot with its lid and start putting your timer for 13 minutes.


5. After 5 minutes I remove the carrots and place them in a glass plate to cool. After 10 minutes, its the bananas turn then finally, the corn at 13 minutes. Include the 2 minutes preparation time (washing the produce and cutting the ends) that is a total of 15 minutes! Hooray! About the water used to boil everything, that will be you and your toddler’s tea. Walang tapon! Sprinkle cinnamon powder if you want to spike up your tea. Do not overdo it though or it might taste awful.

P.S. If you have more time to spare. i.e. You are so ready to dash out the door but hubby decided he’ll use the bathroom first or hubby is taking forever to get his stuff in his bag. Like seriously, who needs guidance and help? The toddler or the hubby? I. Am. Kidding. I won’t ask my husband to proof read this entry for obvious reasons. But just in case he gets to see this: “Hi Mahal! I love you!” ❤

As I was saying, if you happen to have 10 more minutes in your hands. You want to leave out about 2 inches of Banana and Corn Tea then boil the egg in it. 10 minutes for a well done yolk then shorter if you want the yolk to be a little bit runny. The egg which is is packed with good fats and high protein that aids in good eye sight and strong bones is now also infused with all the benefits of Banana and Corn Tea!

Speaking of which, the benefits of organic banana and organic corn tea are so plenty but I don’t want to bore you so I’m just going to share my personal reason on why I just love this combo. The banana tea helps me and Mori get a good night’s sleep. When she is sick I make sure that I make her drink about half a cup before I nurse her to bed. If you don’t like the taste of Chamomile Tea (popularly known for its natural ability to help you doze off) then give banana tea a try. Now adding the corn was an experiment! I didn’t see a recipe anywhere in the internet that you should add corn but there was a time wherein I was really in a hurry and since I am also making corn and steaming a few vegetables, I just tossed everything together and it turned out wonderful!

By the way, organic purple corn has more antioxidants than blueberries! I am so happy we have access to this kind of corn locally. Perfect snack (not sticky, easy to remove fallen bits from shirt or carpet) and adds so much flavor to a regular beef nilaga.

 

Lastly, since this post is inspired by our recent trip to Tokyo, I’ll include the other snacks that I brought with us! As you can see from the photo above, there is a ziplock bag with two biscuits, unsweetened coconut flakes and freeze dried fruits like mango, banana and edamame.

I find it essential to always have our glass bottle with us. I can order a smoothie or hot chocolate from Starbucks and have it placed here instead of their styro or a paper cup. It feels good in knowing that we are doing our part in trying to save the earth while being good to our body.

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I failed to take a photo of their respective packagings so I Googled them for you instead. These are not individually packed so you might want to to place them in ziplock bags to maintain freshness.

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I love this brand! I hope they’ll stay true to their promise. It tastes really good too!

Placing them in small ziplock bags also gives me awareness on how much Mori had already consumed. I had a one bag per day policy. We did not have an access to a kitchen and these snacks are way better compared to what we can grab from a convenience store. It only lasted while we were in Tokyo. Now that we are home, we are back to me baking bread, homemade spreads and serving fresh fruits for snacks.

RESOURCES

Homegrown Organics – Organic Banana, Organic Corn and Organic Carrots.

Echo Store – Unsweetened Coconut Flakes that by the way, the birds also loved. HEHE!

Healthy Options – Egg, Biscuit and Freeze Dried Fruits.

Baobao Babies – Glass Bottle with Straw.

 

 

Travelling with a Toddler Series: What’s in Mori’s Luggage? 

There are a few who wanted to know what I prepared for my little girl’s first plane ride so here it is!

 

We stayed in Tokyo for 10 days. Because of this, I prepared ten sets of clothes for daily wear plus another 10 so that she can change when she gets her clothes dirty. Something that is to be expected when you have a toddler!

Afraid that your baby might get a bruise? Crawlings Knee Pads is lightweight and is comfortable for baby to use on a daily basis during playtime. Perfect for babies who are in the “learning to walk” phase. It can be bought online locally through Baobao Babies.

According to my Otosan (Father), February is the coldest month in Tokyo. Way colder than the ber months! He also told me that it is unusual to snow in Tokyo. Usually, snow is common only in the provinces of Japan. However, during our first day, we stepped out of the train with snow falling from the sky! My heart was filled with joy. No matter where we are, our God is always with us. I know that the snow was a gift from Him. It was our first time to experience it. For our remaining days, snow didn’t fell. Sinalubong lang talaga kami. 🙂

Inner shirt, knitted sweater and pants are from Natura Pura’s Organic Line. You can get them from Danish Wool in USA.

The organic boiled wool shoes is from Little Spruce Organics, also from USA but the cute knee high socks you can buy locally from Baobao Babies. The socks are made in Korea. Yay! I try to stay away from products that are made in China.

Other than that, you’ll find two pairs of shoes in her luggage and a slip on footwear that she change into when she’s chilling in her GB Pockit Stroller. With the stroller’s weight being airline approved, there was absolutely no need to have it checked in! Our flight was delayed for about 7 hours. This gave me a chance to meet new mommy friends from England and America. They too fell in love with our stroller! At first, I was worried that Mori’s ride would be unstable because it is so compact but my goodness! I never left our place without it. Wether it is a smooth surface or a rough one (tons of small rocks from the park) our GB Pockit Stroller delivered!

I also brought 2 swaddle blankets that can be turned into so many things. 1 hooded bath towel, 5 pairs of socks, 10 towelettes/burp pads, a bib that she will be using for the first time (I like making Mori wear a worn out shirt instead of a bib when eating because it gets in the way with baby led weaning at times, but this trip is an exception.) We will use a bib to save space! Then finally, 13 pieces of underwear.

P.S. I made a resources list for you at the bottom of this page so that you’d know where to buy the products that I’ve shared in this entry.

 

I have never been so relieved as much as I am now with the fact that Mori is already Potty Trained at 9 months old! She is now 1 year and 7 months. I just can’t imagine myself changing diapers in between strolling in the park, eating out and please no… In the plane! Mahilohin pa naman ang lola niyo.

 
Speaking of Potty Training, I have an Elimination Communication (For babies 0-18 months) and a Potty Training Class (18 months and up) next month. Here are all the details that you need in case you are interested to join:


Back to the things that we brought with us…

First Aid Kit: Allium Cepa for colds, Belladonna for fever and Chamomilia for teething pain. I also brought with us a propolis throat spray from Echo Store’s BGC Branch for cough (not for babies one and below), Weleda copper ointment for muscle pain/blood circulation, Earth’s Daughter Aloe Vera Gel and Mother Love Green Salve for rashes, burns, itchiness, mosquito bite and other skin related problems. You can get Mother Love from The Parenting Emporium. I am a fan of this particular brand. Their nipple cream and breastfeeding supplements are the best!


I didn’t get to bring these two items because it arrived late in the mail but I am sharing it anyway! The Echinacea is a homeopathic remedy. It is an immune system booster while the jar on the right is my new toothpaste of choice for Mori! You’ll receive it in powder form. What I do is mix it with an Organic, Raw and Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil to create a paste. Both are available at Happy Sleepy Herbals & The Thoughtful Pantry.

 

The Pottete Plus! An absolute favorite of fellow ECiers, is a 2 in 1 Pottying System. It can be a toilet seat reducer or a self standing potty. It is compact! I simply fold it and toss it underneath the stroller so I can easily pull it out when Mori has to  use the loo. Available at Mother Care.

The pack of disposable potty liners and portable bidet are for easy clean up.

 

Now unto Mori’s sling bag!

Looks a lot right? Well, the drawing pad and sticker book can be found on my carry on bag, while the rake and shovel will go to the luggage. The rest will go to the tiny pastel pink bag you saw earlier.  I placed everything in one photo because these are the things that will keep Mori busy when needed. I will make an elaborate entry  about this soon.

Next, I will now show you the stuff that you will find in my bag!

Meet my ever so reliable friend, Kate Spade. (No bulky diaper bag for this ECing mom right here!)

A change of clothes for my bambina, tissue, wet wipes, the activity book I was referring to earlier, my Tamagotchi, facial mist, facial wash and tinted sunscreen from Asiaesthetics, wallet, iPad and Nintendo DS.

And finally, the most important of all! Well, for Mori anyway. Her SNACKS! New moms, brace yourself for the tantrum of the century. You don’t want to deal with a hungry toddler. Believe me!

I prepared purple corn, nilagang saba, carrot sticks and boiled egg. To keep Mori hydrated, instead of the usual water, I made her homemade tea from scratch! It is very easy to make. I will share the recipe tomorrow!

I usually use mason jars but since we will be out and about most of the time, bringing those jars wherever we go would be too heavy for me. No compromises for our drinking bottle though! Life Factory Glass Straw Bottle with silicone cover is available through Baobao Babies. The bottle itself is made in France while the rest of the parts are made in USA. If you aren’t convinced about switching to a glass bottle, know that my mom has been using the same Life Factory Bottle but with a different color for more than a year now while my brother brings the same brand with him to school.

 

I almost forgot! I brought these as well. Potty protectors that even Alwyn and I used, Mosquito Repellant that I just left in the car in Manila because my friend who resides in Japan said that they don’t have mosquitos there, even in the park and  thermometer to add in our first aid kit.

Also, I’ve been getting messages about where I bought my luggage, a request on sharing where I bought this or that so here it is! I collected the information that some of you needed. I hope you’ll find these links helpful. Thank you for dropping by!

 

LOCAL

1. Baby Mall PH  – GB Pockit Stroller: Facebook.

2. The Parenting Emporium – Motherlove Green Salve.

3. Baobao Babies – Life Factory, Crawlings, Mini Dressing (Knee High Socks) and Potty Protector: Instagram Contact Numbers: 0917-634-8889 or 032-5052590

4. Mother Care – Pottete Plus, Disposable Liner: Facebook

5. Rustan’s – Organic Bath Towel and Superga Shoes: InstagramFacebookTwitter.

6. Asiaesthetics The Macell Clinic – Facial Wash and Tinted Sunscreen: Facebook.

7. Happy Sleepy Herbals – Toothpaste and Echinacea: Facebook.

8. Echo Store – Throat spray.

INTERNATIONAL

1. Danish Wool – Knitted Sweater, Long Johns, Shirt.

Brand: Natura Pura.

2. Little Spruce Organics – Underwear, Boiled Wool Boots Swaddle and Burp Pad.

Brands: Aden and Anais (Organic Line), Under The Nile and Disana.

3. Liz Lisa (Japan) – Luggage.