Friday, October 31, 2008

Ethan's school held a Halloween Parade October 24. All the kids came in "friendly" costumes. Most girls came as princesses or fairies. Most boys came as characters: pirates, cowboy, Jedi, even Ben10. Some mommies thought of bringing some treats - ok, two mommies and a grandmom. The kids enjoyed the unexpected treats and had a blast when I said " No limit to the treats. Get as much as you want!"



Ethan's kindergarten class all dressed up for the Halloween parade.

The healthy pirate hanging out with some fairies and princesses

Mommies preparing the treats

A chef, a cowboy and a leopard lining up for the treats

Donut delivery by Mateo of YP class.


Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 10:23:00 AM 2 comments READ FULL POST
The year is nearly ending. It is time to prepare dealing with due payments and expiring health and auto insurances. I am so relieved that the I have dealt with the last payment for Ethan's educational plan. Although not much, money is still money. I have four cars to comprehensively insure this coming year. I wonder how much it will cost me. I'd better browse on auto insurance quotes online so I'd have an idea how much money to prepare. Expenses!
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 10:13:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST
Children acquire fears through experience. A child stung by a bee may well develop fear of insects. A child who remembers the pain of an injection my well develop a phobia of going to a doctor's office. Fears can be triggered by abrupt changes in the family situation too - new birth, trouble in between parents and the likes.

Children may develop their own strategy in dealing with fears. A young child may pretend to be a super hero when imagined fears tend to be around. In their young minds, Superman or Spiderman - are invincible and in their fantasy games the all powerful super heroes can fend off any imagined foe.

A threatened sense of security underlies many childhood fears. The unfamiliar threatens him - a fear of strangers. Another security-related fear is the child's fear of being left by her parents. The other day my daughters, Ethan and I were at the mall when we saw a boy of about three walking aimlessly while crying. We figured he was lost so daughter # 4 ran after the little boy. I then asked him if he was lost and he said yes. I asked him his mother's name and he said "mama". We took the boy to the security department to take care of the matter while I was silently fuming for the "lost" mother. That incident would definitely have a traumatic effect on the child and maybe teach the mother to "not let go of her son's hand while at the mall."
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 09:08:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST
Are you in Canada and at this very moment trying to figure out who has been "prank" calling your very private unlisted number? Or, have you been trying to secure the numbers of your friends' private cellular phone because he is out of town and you need to talk to him? Or, have you been looking for the contact number of your long lost classmate but so far has been unsuccessful? Try reverse phone canada look up. The site www.reversephonebookcanada.com could very well be the answer to your dilemma.


Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 08:37:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST
By the end of your child toddler years, most of his personality - his reaction to life's challenges, interaction with other people, perception of himself- would already have taken shape. The parents are the chief 'architects' of the emotional 'blueprint'. as they are the primary caregiver.

Parents impress their babies and toddlers are the home-grown assets of parental patience,humor, understanding and love. Your child will not care how professionally and financially successful you are. All he would care about is how much you show you love him and care for him. A child's future happiness depends much on the love of his parents and the knowledge that he is loves. A parent can convey affection to a baby or a toddler through loving words and hugs and by the way the parent deals with her child's everyday needs and concerns. A busy mom might take the time to stop, look and listen to her toddler instead of cocking one ear and going about her chores.

Loving your child as he is and letting him know that you love him may well be your child's foundation for a happy life.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 08:11:00 AM 2 comments READ FULL POST
I need a new pair of eyeglasses, again. I just had a pair made but I my eyes can't seem to adjust to my new pair! What irks me is that I paid a great deal of money for the new eyeglasses and yet I can't use it. I use bifocal lenses - one grade for farsightedness and one grade for nearsightedness. I have no problem adjusting to the changing grades for I'm used to it. The real problem lies in the fact that the refracted lenses do not fit. Times are hard and wasting good money on a pair of expensive-useless eyeglasses is not funny. I'm in urgent need of cheap but highly functional eyewear.

I was browsing the internet and found these affordable eyeglasses from Zenni. There are so many styles to choose from that I can't decide which one to pick! There are half-rim, full-rim frames. For lenses; single vision lens, bifocals, progressive lenses, shades and others. There are really cool and quite affordable frames that are made of lightweight materials such as titanium and aluminum alloy. The best part is Zenni Optical's $8 Rx Eyeglasses are offered too. For a prescription eyeglasses that inexpensive, I can order one for each day of the week. See the frame above? They come in five different colors and wouldn't it be great if I get them all.


Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 12:57:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST
I have such a soft spot for kids, especially those who are in need. I was doing my EC drop when I chanced upon this banner.



In a nutshell, Johann will be 4 years old in November yet his receptive language is that of a 12-15 months old child while his expressive language is that of a 9-10 months old infant.Johann is deaf - and he needs a cochlear implant to give him a fighting chance in life. He needs about 750,000 Php for one implant. It needs to be done in December. His parents are trying their utmost to raise the funds. Can the blogging community, as a whole, help Johann have a life? Please click the banner for more information and for your donation.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 12:50:00 AM 2 comments READ FULL POST
When my three eldest girls were very young they were allowed to to watch TV from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays. On weekends, they were allowed to watch from 10:00 a.m. up to 8:00 p.m., as long as they're done with their homework. Daughters #1,2 and 3 usually watched cartoons and VHS tapes of "wholesome" movies. When daughter #4 and my son were born, TV-viewing restrictions became lax. I was just so harassed I let them watch TV or tapes just as long as they're done with their school work and are in bed by 9:00 p.m. I guess it's now harder to limit a child's TV time as there are so many channels available on cable, downloadable movies from the internet, and availability of DVD's.

I do not actually limit Ethan's TV time. I just let him watch his favorite shows just as long as he does not stay up late. We share one TV and when my show is on, I just tell him " my turn" and he readily gives in. The problem is Ethan has been pestering me to buy a great-big-plasma TV - to set up a sort of a  big screen center in the house. I definitely want one too. Who knows? I might be able to afford it and buy one before Christmas.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 12:45:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST
Is the television your baby sitter? I am an advocate of good television programs. I am not against young kids watching TV or DVDs or movies. The important thing is choosing the right program. You would want programs or shows that accentuate the positive - those entertainment that are simple, gentle and imaginative. Eliminate the negative - that which frightens, confuse or encourage aggressive or dangerous behavior. With 7 adults in the house watching TV and DVDs, we can't help it if at times Ethan watches adult programs that we do watch: Dr.House, CSI, Chuck, etc. I guess the important thing is he watches it with one of the adults and we tend to explain "stuff" that are too mature for him. Ethan's regular shows are programs shown at Disney Channel. He so loves High School Musical, and the Sweet Life of Cody and Zack. Ethan also watches cartoons. I've taken him to a musical - West Side Story- and he did enjoy the show. I cannot always be around Ethan to supervise what he watches but I guess it's tooo early for me to worry about.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 12:45:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST
Finding the right lifetime partner is proving to be very difficult to accomplish these days. The young and the not-so-young are all so busy meeting head on the challenges their work brings. For the younger gen Xs, marriage seems to be the last in their "to do" list. Work and leisure are the order of the day for these young people. What happens now if these "youngsters" are not so young anymore? Find the man or woman of their dreams so they can finally get married and maybe make a mad-rush to create a family?

I have one such nephew. He was so busy studying and then working to have time to court a girl. He's in his mid-thirties now and still no girl in sight. I have mentioned online dating service to him but, of course, he was wary. I told him that I have many blogger acquaintances who met their partners in life through online sites and so far are living and raising happy families. I said online dating is a matter of perspective. There are sites that are just plain hacks and scams and then there's www.True.com. Actual Dating is such a tedious process while online dating is a breeze. You can literally log-off if you don't like your online date! I gave my nephew the url of True.com and I added that he could search for free for the girl of his dreams! Care to check it out? Sign up is free!
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/31/2008 12:36:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is part two of Ethan's Story. You might want to read on part 1 first before you proceed. In a nutshell, Ethan's learning disability was finally diagnosed. He has dyslexia.


"Ethan has some form of dyslexia" said Ms. Beth, the person behind Edlink. "I still can't say the degree of his dyslexia but I'm sure that early intervention by means of learning therapy can help him cope with his disability."

Daughter #1, the doctor and Ethan's mommy, sat there listening to Ms.Beth. I sat too, rigid and wanting to cry. In my mind I was screaming "Nooooooo.... life is hard enough without any disability!" Daughter #1 was composed, of course. She's a doctor and have had much practice being calm and composed. My mind was traveling at such speed that I wasn't able see what my thoughts were. Ms. Beth started showing us the tell-tale signs of dyslexia evident in Ethan's test results. Inverted letters. No sense of line and space in writing. No ear for rhymes and word play. Inverted syllabication when pronouncing some words. Wrong order of letters when copying. I cannot take this.

"Stop!", I silently pleaded. My grandson is dyslexic. My grandson has a learning disability. My grandson might not be able to cope which could ultimately damage him in all aspects.

"It's good that you were able to see early on that Ethan's learning ability is not normal. Most dyslexics are diagnosed at age 8 to 10. I have a new student here at the center, a 13 year old teener, now in high school , but still cannot read. Ethan is so lucky that you saw his problem early" said Ms Beth. Daughter # 1 and I were told that Ethan will have to undergo therapy in the form of the Slingerland Approach. "Slingerwhat?!" I was busy feeling miserable that I missed what Ms Beth was saying.

"Mom, what days will we set for Ethan's therapy?" asked daughter #1. I looked at daughter #1 and Ms. Beth.

"Is it still a possibility for Ethan to be a doctor?", I asked no one in particular.

Ms. Beth smiled and said "Of course. Kids with dyslexia are learning disabled and not academically retarded." We settled on a twice a week therapy after his regular school hours.

We drove home silently. I felt so sad for Ethan. I felt so disappointed and frustrated. My three other daughters and my son were already home when we got there. As soon as we entered the side door of the house, we were bombarded with questions. I was the spoke person and as I rounded up the story, there were five different reactions to Ethan's predicament.

Hubby did not say anything. Despite his many faults he trusted (expected?) me to do everything humanly possible for Ethan. After more than 25 years of marriage he still does not get that I need to be dependent too, at times. Daughters #2, 3 said they'd help support whatever Ethan needs. Daughter #4 kept on testing Ethan by asking him to write b and d, m and w. I shushed #4 and everyone kept quiet. Minutes of silence.

Finally my son said "Mom, come on...don't be sad. Ethan will be fine. I'm handicapped too due to my color confusion. But look at me, I'm in UP Diliman while my perfect sisters were all from DLSU, ... only. "

At this point, I was not able to reply as 3 pairs of feet from DLSU started to run after a pair of feet from UP.

Ethan will be all right. We all will be.....


coming: conclusion
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/30/2008 09:30:00 PM 7 comments READ FULL POST
I've been "off" the computer the whole day. I had so many errands to do I lost track of time. I left the house at 8:30 A.M. and it's only now that I got back. Wow! I was out of the house for 12 long hours. It's unbelievably traffic! I think people are trooping to the suburbs or the provinces for All Souls Day on Saturday, never mind that Friday is not a holiday. I was supposed to drop by a Sports Shop to look at some football trophies needed for the church's upcoming sports fest. As traffic was horrendous, I changed my mind. It took me two hours to get home. I guess the trophies just have to wait for another day.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/30/2008 09:27:00 PM No comments READ FULL POST

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Money was tight. My son was in his senior year in high school. His tuition fees alone was 150,000 Php per year. Daughter #1 was in post grad internship in medicine. Daughter # 4 was in her second year in college. Her tuition per year was about 150,000 Php too. Daughter #3 just passed her board exams while #2 was already teaching. It was the year my husband had a heart attack. The angioplasty done to unblock his arteries cost us nearly a million pesos. Ethan was 3.5 years old and needed to be in school. I can't just enroll him in any school. However good schools have stiff tuition fees and that I can't afford. My family and I were in a big financial jam! Daughter #2 and I conferred and decided to enroll Ethan at Kumon just so he can learn phonics and eventually read. Ethan was enrolled to a twice-a-week-thirty-minute-one-on-one session at Kumon.

Kids as young as 3 years old were learning to read at Kumon. After 2 months at Kumon, Ethan was still winging his alphabet. I was quite worried. Ethan can't even remember what letter A is! Is my very smart grandson not smart at all? Is the Kumon method not right for him? After 7 months of twice weekly lessons, I pulled Ethan out. I decided to teach him myself. I bought workbooks and other educational aids and materials to teach Ethan. I taught my three eldest girls how to read phonetically at age 3-4 and surely I could teach Ethan. I was wrong. It was so hard to teach him. His eyes were not focused on the work sheet and he kept on fidgeting. I used multi-sensory aids to teach him. I was progressing a bit but he still cannot consistently write or sound the letters of the alphabet at age 4.5. There were times that I was ready to explode and Ethan sensed these moments. He usually says, "I'm sorry mom. I don't know what's wrong with my mind." That breaks my heart - everytime. Something is definitely wrong. Is my grandson retarded? It can't be! I enrolled him in a summer enrichment program. He was alright except in reading and language.

I and his mommy decided to enroll Ethan in a regular school that academic year. The school was small but the teachers highly skilled and competent. Student-teacher ratio was 5 is to 1. After a month or so, the teacher talked to me regarding Ethan's progress. He was in a class younger than his chronological age but he still can't cope with the lessons. I was silently dying inside. I've long ago noticed his delay in speech but I cast that aside. Daughter #1, his mommy, was not worried because I was doing all the worrying. I told her that it's time to see a developmental pediatrician. Denial time was over.

Ethan's initial consult was short and quick. The developmental pediatrician showed him some letters. At age 5 Ethan still cannot name the letters of the alphabet consistently. The doctor set an appointment for the actual testing, a month and half after the first consult. That was almost a year ago. The initial diagnosis was Ethan seems to have a learning disability. He needed further tests to determine the kind of disability he has. In the Philippines, there is no insurance coverage for this type of "aliment". The bill has now amounted to more than 10,000 Php. Further testing means more bills to pay. We were referred to EdLink, a sort of a special school that offers learning therapy for children with LDs. The test date was set. The test done. The results in. Dyslexia.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/28/2008 07:58:00 AM 7 comments READ FULL POST

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ethan had a bad afternoon. He threw-up so many times, I lost track. He is presently sleeping, exhausted from his ordeal. He is not sick. He just had a very bad case of motion sickness. Let me start from the beginning.

Manila has three rail transits. LRT 1, Baclaran to Caloocan; LRT 2, Taft Ave. to Santolan; MRT 3, Baclaran to North Avenue. My first and last ride at LRT 1 was in the 80's, back when it was first built. I just have no business riding an LRT or MRT for I always bring my car. Anyway, Ethan has been pestering me, for the longest time, to ride the MRT. He kept saying "Please mom? Can we ride the train?". Finally, after more than a year of planning we've  finally decided to  ride the MRT. Daughters #3 and 4 decided to tag along. Actually I insisted that they come with us because I am not familiar with the ins and outs of the MRT. We decided to take and park the car in Makati, take the MRT at Ayala Station up to Shaw Station then back again. That we did.

It was a Sunday so the MRT's women's car was not really jam packed; but the seats were all taken anyway. The stations' layout was confusing - not enough signs and instructions to go by. Daughter #4 bought the tickets- 11 pesos, one way. We went through the stile and went down several stairwells to arrive at the loading depot. The loading/unloading dock was stiffing hot! The train came and we boarded. W e arrived at the Shaw station. I can feel the heat and grime around us. We hovered for a few minutes then jumped back on the train going south. I developed a throbbing headache. Ethan developed a pulsating headache. Back at Ayala station I fed Ethan hoping that it would make him feel better. It did not. Fifteen minutes after his meal, he started to throw up. It was good that we were already in the car when it happened. The drive home was a cacophony of retching and wails of "Mom!, I'm  dying!" while daughters #3 and 4 were busy rummaging for a container to catch the ejected "food". Upon arrival at home, I carried Ethan and felt his cold sweat. I dried his sweat, gave him a bath, have him sip cold sweet milk and let him have a nap.

I can hear him calling now. "Mom? Where are you? I'm hungry!" I guess he's fine now.


Posted by desperateblogger On 10/26/2008 08:35:00 PM 7 comments READ FULL POST
My old hometown church has been renovated and revamped! It took about 6 months to do the job to the tune of 1.9 million Php. The money came from pledges and donations from church members and friends. The church building is 44 years old and was in desperate need of repair. True, some minor and quite major repairs were done over the years but this is the first time that church services were completely stopped - relocated at the other church - to give way to the construction. The church is now bathed in ecru, beige, and gold colors. The altar has been totally dismantled and a new modernistic yet elegant altar now dominates the whole church.

There were members who donated other decorations and gadgets for the church. One such gadget was a brand new projector lamp as it is now customary in churches to use a projector lamp to transfer an image from a multimedia projector onto a larger screen for the congregation to view. What do you know? The lamp itself was busted and no one knew how to replace it. Google. The online search yielded the 
projector lamp center how to guide. The step by step video instruction was easy enough to follow that the projector lamp's busted light was replaced without hassle.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/26/2008 10:23:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I spent the better part of this Saturday afternoon at the Emergency Room of a hospital near our house. It was not me or any of my immediate family who was taken to ER. It was my one of my girl friends, TDC. I was late coming home last night for two of my friends and I had a meeting regarding some village matters. In the course of our conversation TDC mentioned that her older sister and brother-in-law will be coming for a visit from USA to Manila next week. She said her sister had finally paid of all their mortgages from Amerisave. TDC said that according to her sister, the said company has the best mortgage loan rates and that paying the loan was actually a breeze. As a result they meant to "celebrate" their debt-free life. TDC's sister is treating her and her hubby to a trip to Australia. You might ask, how is the ER connected?

This morning TDC decided to do a house general cleaning for her sister's and brother-in-law's arrival. She was cleaning the bathroom when she slipped. It was no ordinary slip as she was unable to move because of pain. She called me for help. I called daughter #1 and we were instructed to immediately proceed to the ER for x-rays. To cut the story short, TDC has a hairline fracture in her 5th vertebra and has been advised complete bed rest with matching body brace for 4 to 6 weeks. I guess that would mean, the Australia trip is canceled. Poor friend.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/25/2008 05:58:00 PM No comments READ FULL POST
October is Learning Disabilities Month. Now, do you know what LD (learning disability) is? Learning disability is not a problem with intelligence. Most children with LD have average to above average IQ and some are even smarter than their peers who have no LD. A learning disability is a neurological disorder. A learning disability results from a difference in the way a person's brain is "wired." Children with LD may have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in conventional ways.

There are different types of learning disabilities thus the variety of skills affected by LD. Here is a list of the different types of learning disabilities frequently identified.


Problem Area

Disorder

Language

Reading disorder (Dyslexia)

Disorder of Written Expression( Dysgraphia)

Calculation

Mathematics Disorder

(Dyscalculia)

Motor Skills

Developmental Coordination Disorder

(Dyspraxia)

Communication Disorder

Expressive language disorder

Mixed receptive-expressive language disorder

Phonological disorder

stuttering



Some signs of learning disability can be manifested in early childhood which is highly beneficial for onset of early prognosis and intervention. Now developmental lag (late development) is not a symptom of LD until the child is muck older and attending school. If you notice than something is just not "right" with your child, have him assessed by a clinical psychologist or your developmental pediatrician. Parents have a sixth sense about these things, especially if this is not your first child.If parents, teachers, and other professionals discover a child's learning disability early and provide the right kind of help, it can give the child a chance to develop skills needed to lead a successful and productive life.

Posted by desperateblogger On 10/25/2008 09:24:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ethan's best bud Kyle's mom just texted me. She is inviting Ethan to go trick or treating at their place on October 31. She said their village will be having a big Halloween party and wouldn't it be nice if we could join them. I said "yes" of course. I told Ethan about it and he's one excited pirate. Yup! I went ahead and had a pirate costume made to my specifications. I dressed-rehearsed Ethan a while back and the three aunties were beside themselves with taking his pictures. Anyway, tomorrow Ethan's school will have a Halloween parade that will finish off with a classroom to classroom trick or treating. I volunteered to bring some treats - then later regretted it - as I scrambled for my dessert recipes to choose what cake to bake. Guess what I baked? Nothing. I just bought loads of candies. As daughter #4 says " Trick or treating is not about eating candies - it's about you getting candies." Wise words from a veteran.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/23/2008 11:29:00 PM 4 comments READ FULL POST
My son never liked doing coloring books. His preschool teacher, when he was three years old, had a hard time convincing him to color his work. Homework? I saw him then commanding his nanny to please hold his had and move it back and forth so as to color his assignment. I took it to "boys are different", or "boys mature later than girls". My one and only son was late in speech. too. He was able to talk haltingly in complete sentences at 2.5 years old which was kinda late compared to his sisters - the sisters were all speaking in complete sentences before the age 2. My son had this dynamic energy that refuses to be spent. He was constantly on the move, never paying much attention. ADHD ? Not quite - but somewhat.

By age 4-5, my son was still quite a "baby". He never seemed to understand what we're telling him. He never appreciated the beauty of nature: green trees, beautiful flowers, colorful rainbow. He sometimes had headaches too. He was just not "there" . All he cared about were his cars and other toys. Is something wrong with my son? I was so busy and involved with my four daughters' swimming careers that I have totally given my son's care to his nanny. One time I was brushing his teeth when it suddenly hit me: I did not even know if my son could read! I asked him to read the label or recite the letters of the toothpaste, 18 inches away from him. He said he cannot read the word. What? My son cannot read the letters much more the word Colgate. "You mean you don't know the letters?" I asked. "No, I cannot see the letters" , he answered.

It turned out that my son was highly astigmatic and myopic with a grade of 250+. Off we went to an ophthalmologist - refracted his eyes then fitted with eyeglasses. Aha! Now my son can see! He was very happy that finally his surroundings are not blurred anymore. He even helped me paint the baseboard of our living and dining rooms. "Wow mom, I love this color, it's so red, just like Christmas". Oh Oh... something is definitely wrong with my son. The paint I was using then was mahogany brown. I got my book. Had him look at some pictures and asked him what he could see. Okay now. My myopic-astigmatic son was/is also green-red color blind.... color confused is the right term though.


Posted by desperateblogger On 10/23/2008 10:51:00 PM 2 comments READ FULL POST
Finding clothes for me and my girls has never been a problem. We can buy off-the-rack or we can have them made according to specifications by our seamstress. Buying casual clothes for my son and hubby is not a problem too as there are numerous retailers of shirts and pants for men. The problem lies in buying
mens’ suit. It's just impossible to buy suits off-the-rack. The fit is a nightmare. The cloth is substandard. The price is outrageous. There are haberdasheries and tailor shops that do make customized suits but, which one to chose?

I browsed online and found a great site for a custom suit. I clicked on the My.Suit Experience and learned that there are three steps to a great suit: measuring, styling and fabric selection. In measuring, I didn't even know that girth and waist are two different measurements. In styling, I was surprised by the different styles of jackets. There are single button, 2-button, 3-button, 4-button and 6-button styles. There are different designs for lapels, sleeve buttons, pockets and vents. There are other selections for pants too. The client chooses his own design, style and textile. My.Suit Experience does not offer "made to order" suits. My.Suit Experience offer Made to measure suits. Are you on the lookout for great suits? This site, www.MySuitNY.com is highly recommended.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/23/2008 07:52:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST
A gifted child may show of his potentials at a very early age. As infants they gaze intently at people and objects and appears very alert and aware. They frequently reach developmental stages ahead of schedule. Other gifted children do not show their talents up until elementary school or even later. Boys tend to be late bloomers but looking back parents may recall events or traits that were clues. Here are some more special ways of the gifted.

* In many cases, gifted children teach themselves how to read.
* A gifted child have a rich fantasies and develop relationships with imaginary friends.
* They may have a mature sense of humor.
* They may develop elaborate theories about the way things work.
* Prefers to play with older children.
* May be fascinated with clocks and calendars and understand how they work ahead pf children their age.
* May be quick to understand cause and effect relationships and may form his own conclusion.
* They arrive at abstract thinking at an earlier age.
* Gifted children may remember that different pitches of a sequence of musical notes and may sing in perfect tune at an early age. All my kids sang in perfect tune when they were toddlers. Daughter #4 can even sang parts in alto at age 2. Were they gifted kids then? Nah! that was just the "genes".
* They may be unusually sensitive to the feelings of others and have an intuitive understanding of a parent's or friend's sadness or anger.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/23/2008 07:22:00 AM 4 comments READ FULL POST

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Daughter #2 is at it again. For the past four years, this time of the year, everyone who is "weak" succumbs to daughter #2s school dilemma. October is International Month at the school where daughter #2 teaches. She is so harassed and stressed for the thousand and one things that need to be done and taken care of for the said month-long celebration. I have figured that It's either the principal loves her or hates her. Love - for the principal gives her so many responsibilities to undertake for the celebration. Hate - for the principal gives her so many responsibilities to undertake for the celebration.

Four years ago, September 27 to be exact, I fractured my left ankle. My ankle has to be in cast for about 6 weeks. Daughter #2 was panicky for we have not started choreographing the dance routine of her grade level. I told her that I'll help her still. And help I did. She even had the gumption to complain that I was not consistent with my points and flexes - hello! my left foot was in cast. Then there was the time, she was in-charge of the "Battle of the Bands" and the whole family had to help her feed the contestants - I did the cooking while my maids and daughters did the serving. Okay, I was paid for that.

The school campus is now throbbing with activities. The main quadrangle is filled with trade show booths - Globe, Fitness First and the likes. One can see the numerous tables decked in different-colored Table skirts sporting the logos of each represented grade level arranged at the gym - laden with "food to share". Daughter #2 even designed banners just for the occasion and they are all proudly displayed on banner stands she insisted the maintenance crew of the school provide. She actually wanted a pipe and drape- sort of a backdrop drapery set - but I guess the maintenance crew finally said "No". Three more days and the school activities will commence. Guess what? Come Friday, I'm to cook dinner for 15 of daughter #2's co-teachers. They have decided to "unwind" in our house. My tasks never end.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/22/2008 06:07:00 PM 2 comments READ FULL POST
The "gifted child" can be the quick witted charmer, the eccentric loner, the artistic or musical prodigy, or the mini-genius accelerated many times over. Gifted children have been endowed with a very high potential to achieve. From birth on, it is up to parents, teachers and the child himself to translate that potential into accomplishments. Gifted children can usually learn skill with little or no formal training. Many master basic reading skills on their own. What?!Does that mean I was gifted child? I learned to read on my own - by reading billboards and crayon labels.

Is your child gifted? I don't know about you but do you honestly believe that sustaining your child on certain brand of milk will make him "gifted." Fat, maybe. Anyway, here are some special ways of a gifted child. A child may show one or more of these traits on occasion but a gifted child shows many of these consistently and to a remarkable degree.

* An extremely high energy level especially when working on projects. Might not need much sleep.
* Insatiably curious and have a wide range of interests and hobbies.
* Has an unusually long attention span.
* Has a remarkable memory and can retain most of what he observed or learn. If an object is removed from a room, a gifted child of 2-3 may inquire where it is.

* Likes to collect things such as rocks, bottle caps.
* A precocious talker using grown-up words at a young age and has no difficulty conversing with adults. Instead of saying "I saw a dog", a gifted child might say " I saw a black dog cross the street."
* A child talented in verbal areas enjoys rhyming and analogies.
* He can create a short stories, poems and letters at an early age.

There are more in my next post.

Posted by desperateblogger On 10/22/2008 04:53:00 PM 3 comments READ FULL POST

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I have been an ardent subscriber of Real Age for about five years now. I find their health-related articles helpful and worth my while. When I took the RealAge Test five years ago, I was three years younger than my real age. I thought I would be younger by at least five years for I was working out at the gym on a daily basis then - aerobics and weight training. Five years ago, the culprit was my smoking and my unhealthy diet. I took the test again and this time I'm only 1.7 years younger than my real age! Why? Seems like stress, diet and my not exercising on a regular basis are the culprit.

Gosh, I need to de-stress and while I'm at it, vary my veggies, eat more fruit, do exercise and buckle up. Yup! not buckling up adds years to your age. I need to eat less red meat but I can keep my current weight for I'm still within the acceptable BMI (body-mass-index) of 22.5. I need to floss every single day - not flossing causes periodontal diseases and that will make you old. I need to know my resting heart rate and should add more folic acid in my diet. Overall, I'm in an "ok" status but I know I can do better and rate much younger than my real age. All I have to do is follow the recommendations then retake the test after 90 days. What about you? Do you want to find out your real age? Take the RealAge Test! It's free!
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/21/2008 08:10:00 PM No comments READ FULL POST
Halloween is just around the corner. Before I can say supercalifragilistic,know it, Christmas is right outside my front door, knocking and asking "Have you done your Christmas shopping yet?" And of course my answer will be "not yet!" Economic crisis. Recession. Steep gas price. Everyone is affected. But! oil crisis or not, Christmas, and so is the whole package that comes with the traditions, will push through. Online shopping might be an the answer for you and I to economize on gas and power. I might finally start and hopefully complete my Christmas shopping.

I love to shop online. I can spend hours on the internet browsing on books, clothes, gadgets, house stuff, toys... name it! It's available online. I know that most online shoppers are wary of using their credit cards to purchase online. I can understand why. There are just too many incidents of credit card hacking and identity theft that on the net today. However, there is a free tool available at buySAFE that you can download to make your online shopping safe.With their Shopping Advisor, you'll be able to know which online merchant is protecting, not hacking, your personal information and guaranteeing your purchase as promised. Check it out and download the free tool.


Posted by desperateblogger On 10/21/2008 06:11:00 PM 3 comments READ FULL POST
It is natural for parents to want the best for their child - to prepare him for the challenges that life offers or for the child to "shine". This good intention can go awry and the child might feel "pushed" rather than "encourage" to learn. There was a time that a phenomenon movement called "superkid" came to be. Parents, capitalizing on the immense learning potential of babies and young children drilled their very young kids. One could find flashcards held in front of six-month-old infants, toddlers drilled in spelling and preschoolers taken to computer lessons, or tennis lessons, to tutoring lessons.

The question now is Did these educated preschoolers really get a head start in life? Many developmental psychologists are convinced that the educational benefits of such drills are temporary. Youngster taught to "memorize" all the correct answers can become afraid to think for themselves. I saw a one-year-old girl in YouTube reading words on a flashcard shown by her dad. I am familiar with the method used by the dad - it's basically sight reading. Did the 12-month old girl really understand what she was "reading"? Of course not! Pressured children often learn to fear failure at an age when they should be constantly testing ideas. Worst, such children might feel that they are loved for their achievements, not for themselves. Let the children have their free hours of childhood exploration.


Posted by desperateblogger On 10/21/2008 05:48:00 PM 2 comments READ FULL POST
When do you let your child groom and bathe himself? At two years of age, a child can start to "help" out in brushing his teeth and taking a bath. By "help" I mean, an adult basically does all the brushing and bathing. The child only goes through the motion. Start teaching a child the rudiments of grooming and bathing at the earliest age possible. Ethan was all excited when I told him one night that he can take a shower all by himself. He was five then. So off he went to get his Elmo bath towel while I set the shower's water temperature. He stepped on the shower stall, went under the shower, and started shampooing his hair. I was in the bathroom's perimeter, "supervising". I took a peak and saw a grin plastered on his face. Then suddenly, a piercing scream! Ethan! I ran to the bathroom and was met by darkness. The bathroom lighting conked out! It scared Ethan thus the panicked screaming. Ethan's "first" shower proved to be memorable. It was a "shower with candle light".
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/21/2008 07:37:00 AM No comments READ FULL POST
Nature or Nurture? Which determines the child's ability to learn? Hereditary sets a limit on a child's potential and environmental experiences determine the extent to which his potential will be realized. For example, a child who is has some form of retardation will only develop intellectual abilities up to a certain low level however encouraging his environment is: a child born with a capacity for brilliance will perform as a genius if he receives the environmental stimulation needed to develop his natural abilities.

A child responds to his environment and the environment responds to the child's inborn traits. How so? Infants who are born with pleasant and easy dispositions received better care and more stimulating attention from their parents than infants with more difficult temperament. This shows that naturally outgoing children may in effect improve their own learning environments while children with more inhibitions and fears will avoid certain types of interaction that are potential learning experiences. Where then is the best place to mold a child's intellectual development?

The home, of course. Research has shown that there is a correlation between a child's mental development and the family's income and education level. Children with well-educated parents with comfortable incomes tend to have higher IQs and perform better in schools. Economics? Perhaps. Well-to-do parents have money to provide their children stimulating play materials and educational experiences. Children have the natural tendency to absorb the values and motives of the people who took care of them. They naturally follow the examples set by their earliest and most influential role model.

Most authorities believe that the strongest influences on a child's development are: moderate level of stimulation, adult caregivers who are affectionate and responsive, regularity and consistency in daily routine, a rich language environment and freedom to experiment and explore.

Posted by desperateblogger On 10/21/2008 07:04:00 AM 2 comments READ FULL POST

Monday, October 20, 2008

Babies have very sensitive skin. You just can't use any regular soap or shampoo for your baby as they might have an adverse effect. I have always used hypo-allergenic products for my kids when they were babies. Daughter #2's skin was highly sensitive then that I had a hard time finding the right baby soap and shampoo for her. She developed a severe form of cradle cap - she was allergic to the cleansing products and baby oil and lotion that I was using. Daughter #2's pediatrician gave her medicated cream for her ailment. Upon hearing of his granddaughter's skin condition, my father sent me Mustela baby products for daily hygiene and bath time for her to use. I was converted to the products. My children are all grown-up now but my grandson, Ethan, is also a "user" of Mustela products.

Ethan developed allergy to baby shampoos too. The suds from the shampoo caused some white spots appear in his face that the dermatologist recommended that I use Mustela 2 in 1 Hair and Body wash. As the name implies, it is a soap-free cleanser for hair and body. The product proved to be effective. Aside from the bath and hygienic products I prefer to use High protection sun lotion SPF 50 for Ethan too. No sunburn. No allergies. Why don't you click on the link and find out more about Mustela products. There is also a Parent's Corner where you can get great tips and advice.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/20/2008 07:26:00 PM No comments READ FULL POST
You should not panic if your child's progress in various speech and language development lags a little bit behind the average language milestones in my previous posts. About 5% of children experience developmental delays that is serious enough that you might want to seek professional help. The kid may have physical, neurological, or emotional problems that interfere with his ability to understand or speak the language. The first five years of your child's life are critical in the treatment of such problems.

Warning Signs of Speech Disorders

* Shows no response to sounds by six months of age.
* Uses mostly vowel sounds, very few consonants, in babbling after 12 months
* Does not use speech sounds or gestures to indicate wants and needs by 15 months.
* Does not say recognizable words in naming familiar people and objects by 18 months.
* At three, still does not use two or three word sentences.
* Speech still largely unintelligible at three.
* At three does not articulate beginning consonants on most words.
* Words ending consistently missing at the age of five.
* At five years of age, sentence structure are still noticeably simple and immature, not similar in complexity to that used by the family.
* At any age, shows marked hesitancy in speech or shows signs of stuttering, ex: "c-ca-cat" or struggles to get a sound our for longer than a second, ex: "c---at". Disfluency is not a factor, ex: "I want... I want to eat".
* Voice is monotone, too loud or too soft, or excessively nasal.
* Odd speech rhythm, rate of speech or inflection after the age of five.

Is your child showing three or more of these signs? If he is, see a developmental pediatrician at once.



Posted by desperateblogger On 10/20/2008 10:57:00 AM 2 comments READ FULL POST

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I was cleaning my drawer when I chanced upon the family's passports. I counted: daughter #1, 2, 3, 4, my son and I. Umm...hubby's passport is missing! Where could it be? I looked everywhere but I can't find it. Maybe it's with him. I checked the expiration dates on our passports and dang!- all are expired since June 08. Oh well, no problem then for I was really intent on getting Ethan a passport before the year ends. I better have all the kids have their passport pictures taken so we can renew them as soon as possible. Who knows? - we might travel abroad for Christmas. It's not too late to plan, is it?
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/19/2008 10:09:00 PM 6 comments READ FULL POST
At four years of age your child makes sentences that are short in comparison with older children, averaging five to six words, and the thoughts he expresses are unsophisticated. He understands the social and private power of language, has the basic principles of syntax in place and can produce well-constructed sentences of great variety in which the plural, pronouns and verb tenses are mostly correct.

Language Milestones for Four Years and Older

* Understands and begins to use opposites - big and small, high and low
* Describes recent experiences in the order they occurred.
* Follow complex, three-step directions in the right sequence
* Rhymes words
* Consistently uses past tenses or irregular verbs - went, drank, told
* Uses some irregular plurals - mice, leaves, sheep
* Uses articles "a" and "the" consistently
* Uses possessive form of nouns correctly
* Answers the telephone and gets the person requested by the caller
* Defines a word: school is where you study
* Responds appropriately to questions about quantity - how much, how long, how far, when.

Your child may still have problems pronouncing some consonants and combinations of consonants - sounds known as fricatives: sh, th, f, z, and s. Ethan used to say I fink so when what he wanted to say was I think so.. He used to say his name Efan too. Only 50% of children will have mastered all the sounds needed to speak the English language by the age five, and as late as seven, 10% will still have difficulty with at least one sound.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/19/2008 09:02:00 PM No comments READ FULL POST

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I love babies! There's something in babies that makes me want to cuddle them. Protect them. Love them. Take care of them. I never tire of looking at baby pictures - my babies and other people's babies too. I so love baby photos that I see online. They are just the tops! What I would give to be a "pro" in terms of baby photography and have the rest of the world admire my work. I found a website that lets you upload baby pictures of your choice. The pictures could be a product of your own undertaking or it could be someone else's work.

PixOrNix.com is a site where you can upload pictures that can fit in its varied categories: art, baby, baseball, bear, boat, car, cat and son on. If you don't have any pictures to upload then you can just browse on the pictures that you care to rate.Yes! Enjoy the beautiful pictures and rate them too. I chose the baby pictures category and started rating the pictures. There were pictures worth looking at and there are those who do not even belong to the baby pictures category. Rating is from 1 to 10. If you feel the picture is not worth rating, you can skip it or you can flag it as "not a baby" picture. I actually found one such picture and flagged it. If you are a budding photographer, you can submit your pictures at the site and have it rated by viewers. It would be interesting to know how you'll fare.
Posted by desperateblogger On 10/18/2008 11:09:00 PM No comments READ FULL POST
As your child begins to use a wider range of sound, he will better perceive the differences in the words spoken to him. This contributes to an rapid growth in his vocabulary. Below is an illustration of a child's rate of vocabulary growth. At all stages, the vocabulary that a child comprehends exceeds the vocabulary that he uses in speech - at a ratio of (+ -) 5 to 1. If a child could speak 10 words, he can more or less understand 50 words.


Age

Words Spoken

Words Understood

15 months

10

50

18 months

50

250

2 years

200

1,000

3 years

1,000

5,000

4 years

1,600

8,000

5 years

2,200

11,000

6 years

2,600

13,000


Let me just clarify that this is an estimation set at the highest bar possible. Do not despair if your child is not at par. As I've said, children differ in their phases of development. There is, however, a certain point that if a milestone is not met, a trip to the developmental pediatrician is a must.



Posted by desperateblogger On 10/18/2008 10:18:00 PM No comments READ FULL POST
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