Like Zoe!

My toddlers love to read books.  They have easy access to their bookshelf and are allowed to choose the book they want to read.  My only condition for them is to put the book back on the shelf before getting another one.


My best friend gifted Jade with a Little Blessings book.  Upon seeing the book cover, she immediately exclaimed, “It’s my favorite book!”  I presume it is because she can relate to the little girl pictured in the cover. They are after all similar in many ways. 

The book written by Melody Carlson is about a little girl who discovers that she can do new things; things that big kids can do.  She can fix her bed, get dressed, eat by herself, brush her teeth, comb her hair, fiddle, take care of her fish, bake cookies, pack away her toys, and so much more. 

Each glossy page is also filled with pictures of things we see at home.  Elena Kucharik’s illustration delights my toddlers.  These pictures are great for vocabulary building also.  Sometimes, I name objects and ask the toddlers to look for them in the page.  Other times, I let them point at objects and we name them together.

We have read this book countless of times, but the toddlers never tire of listening to the story.  Jade still declares that it is her “most favorite book ever.”  It has also helped encourage Jade to be more independent.  Whenever she does something that Zoe can do, she says, “Like Zoe! Mama, I’m like Zoe!”  It’s not only Jade who loves the book.  Jakei loves it also.  He loves looking at the pictures and naming them.


Since the toddlers love this book so much, we also want to get a copy “I’m Jack!”, another book in the series.  I still can’t find any in the local bookstores though.

I’m Jack! I Am Made to Run and Play (Little Blessings Picture Books.)

Mama’s Getting Help From The Learning Library

I’ve been reading to my daughter since she was growing inside my womb and until now, not a day passes by without us reading a book together. At her very young age, she has already shown great love for literature and a knack for weaving stories of her own. When dear Mama is cannot read a book for her, she often narrates her own version of a storybook based on the pictures.

I have tried to teach her how to read on her own but have only managed to help her recognize letters and their sounds. We’ve been stuck at AT and AN words for weeks now and I’m pretty much the one who’s getting frustrated. You see, my Mom taught my sisters and I to read before we even reached three years of age. Jade is three years and four months now and I feel that I may not have enough skill to teach her the basics of reading.

Since she herself has been clamoring to go to school and has shown signs of being ready for more challenges, we agreed to check if she could be enrolled in a Reading Program. The nearest establishment that offered such a program was The Learning Library but when I inquired, they said that they only accepted children who are already in school. After reasoning out that my little girl was already used to answering worksheets and knew how to follow instructions, they did schedule us though for an assessment.

Our first visit to the center proved how ready Jade is for school. She easily warmed up to the teacher and had no qualms going off with the teacher by herself. It felt kind of sad that she left poor Mama within five minutes of arriving at the center; but, I am proud of how independent and driven she is.

How did the assessment go? It went fairly well with Teacher Erica informing me that Jade was very quick with her answers.  Although she missed several questions, her Reading level was still above-average for her age. Most importantly, she showed readiness to learn and behaved well during the assessment.

We’re starting Level 1 of their Reading Advantage Program this November. I really thought we’d be on Level 2 already as she already knew all of the letters and sounds, could identify beginning letters, and read a few cvc words. However, it turns out that she had to be able to identify middle and ending letters also before she could proceed to Level 2. And she is also still unable to segment words phonemically.

She is very excited to go back to The Learning Library and learn how to read. We’ll see how it goes the first month and if she wishes to continue the program then we’ll do so.

Rainy Season Flu Season is here

We took the toddlers this morning to their pediatrician for their Hepa-A vaccines which were postponed for next month.  Their pediatrician instead suggested that the toddlers get vaccinated against the flu virus since the rainy season has arrived and with it the flu season.  They should have received the Influenza H1N1 Vaccine a couple of months ago but we prioritized their Pneumo vaccines since the little girl has had pneumonia twice in two years time. Here are some pertinent facts about Influenza and why we need to be vaccinated against it annually?

What is Influenza?

The common flu or influenza is an infection that develops primarily in the lungs and is spread from person to person through secretions of the nose and lungs more often than not when sneezing.  Although other respiratory illnesses cause similar symptoms, it is usually only influenza that is characterized with very high fever, malaise and severe body aches.  It is not only children who are advised to be vaccinated against the influenza virus. Adults are likewise advised to get this flu shot annually since the Swine flu and a host of other super bugs made themselves known.

What is the Flu Vaccine and what are its side effects?

The Flu vaccine is an inactivated influenza virus that is injected into muscles to stimulate the immune system and produce an immune response to the  influenza virus. Antibodies attack and kill the virus and prevent infection in a person who has been vaccinated.

The vaccine given annually is administered as a single dose of 0.5 ml of liquid injected intramuscularly through  the skin. Typically, the injection is into the side of the arm for adults and into the thigh for toddlers. Alcohol is rubbed over the skin for  sterilization.

Side effects of the  flu vaccine are not common but there may be a few who might experience soreness at the  site of the injection, muscle aches, and fever. Very rarely have  serious allergic reactions been reported.

Why do we need a Flu Vaccine annually?

Influenza is a serious viral respiratory infection and is highly infectious.  Its symptoms are severe and prolonged and inhibits normal daily routine. Aside from this, bacterial infections can occur on top of the respiratory infection and their simultaneous attack on the body can overwhelm the function of the lungs and the body. It is, thus, crucial for children and the elderly to be vaccinated against the influenza virus to prevent further complications that may even lead to death.

The influenza virus can change slightly each year and a new vaccine has to be prepared every year to combat the expected strains of influenza virus.  The vaccine is only effective against the specific strains of virus that match the vaccine so it does not give you a foolproof chance of acquiring flu. It does lower the probability of you getting the disease though.  Annual vaccination is required so that you get a vaccine that matches the strains of influenza prevalent currently.

When is the best time to get vaccinated?

Flu season in our country begins at the onset of the rainy season.  It is advisable to get the vaccine a few weeks before this.  April or May would probably be the best months to get the Influenza Vaccine. Do consult your physicians though as they would be able to give you the best advice.

Counting with the Caterpillar

Our Thinking Tuesday session today lasted only about thirty minutes!  Boohoo!

The little boy stubbornly refused to sit still in our dining table cum study table and was quite obstinate at insisting that we go upstairs instead.  Crayons, pencils, and his other toys were to no avail.  It seemed that he was on a learning strike.  As I was not one to  force them to go through the worksheets and planned activities, I finally gave in and packed away our worksheets.

Jade was able to finish one of the counting activities though before her little brother acted up.  She was able to place the numbers 1 to 10 in correct sequential order through the caterpillar’s body. For this activity, I printed a caterpillar template then wrote the numbers 1 to 10 on colored sticker paper.

 photo countingcaterpillar.jpg

 photo countingcaterpillarjade.jpg

We were able to finish two more worksheets after this activity. Jade has almost mastered identifying which item does not belong in a group. She has also showed great progress in completing patterns. However, as Jade was starting on her third worksheet, Jakei became restless and started pestering his sister.

Not one to give up that easily, I facilitated a “Count Me” game when we went to the bedroom upstairs. The toddlers didn’t even realize that we were still learning math since we were just playing with the cards. So, I guess even if we didn’t finish the worksheets, Thinking Tuesday was still a success after all.

Dancing to the Beat

It was a great Music & Me Monday today! As always, the toddlers had fun listening to our music selection.  We had our favorite CDs out this morning. Kindermusik’s Get Up and Move, Baby Songs Collection, and Getting Smart with Mozart.  We did miss last week’s Sound of Music Singalong though so we’d definitely be inserting that into our schedule the rest of the week.

Jade already has her own dance moves and can follow the beat of the songs.  She’s actually the one who has the most fun during our music time.  Jakei has started to pay attention to what Jade and I are doing but he still just keeps to his own world most of the time.  He would dance a little or clap his hands for a little while then he’d be off running or hopping around the room.  We have gotten to stop him from throwing the maraccas in the air though (Hurray!).

Music isn’t really one of my forte.  I even remember scoring the least in Musical Intelligence when I answered a checklist on Multiple Intelligences a decade ago.  The only statement I checked that fell under “Musical Intelligence” was “tapping your fingers or feet while working or thinking.”  Although I’m not the type who’d listen to music nor sing a tune, I am making an effort for my toddlers to grow up loving music.  Fortunately, my husband is greatly talented in this field so he’s able to impart his love for music to the toddlers.  He’s the one who patiently teaches them how to sing notes and, more likely than not, he’ll also be the one to teach them how to dance.

Since this Tottering Mama is tone-deaf and has two left feet, the toddlers would have to make do with a little clapping and tapping while playing with our musical instruments during music time.  Thankfully, my little ones are so easily amused and pleased that they always have a heck of a grand time!