To Have or Not to Have a Nanny

From a previous post, I enumerated three options expats could choose from with regard to who will take care of a child after the one month maternity leave. These are:

  1. Hiring a nanny
  2. A daycare center that accepts infants
  3. Mom and/or Dad looking after your baby

In our case, the first two options were the most plausible. Option 3 was out of the question. Hiring a nanny may not be the best especially if we take into consideration child psychology 101, fundamentals of education and whatnot but truth be told this is the most convenient, easiest, and practical option there is.  And putting our son in a daycare was the other probable option.

 

How’s the nanny?

Our first born was with a Thai nanny most of her infancy and Filipino nanny during her toddler years. While our second child was with a Thai nanny during his infancy and spent most of his toddler years in a daycare. We could say that we experienced the best or even the worse of both worlds.

We were lucky our kids had caring nannies.  We never had nanny-related problems similar to those horrendous news or videos of babies and kids abused by their nannies. However, the biggest challenge we had, since the Thai nannies we had do not speak our language, was communication gap. Explaining your preferences and the do’s and don’ts is extremely difficult.  This oftentimes lead to miscommunication, misunderstanding, and a possible strain in the relationship.  Another problem that could arise from having a nanny whether communication is a problem or not, is the differences in child-rearing practices. Parents have visions as to how their kids should grow and what values they want to re-enforced. On the other hand, parents and nannies may not be in the same spectrum.

And so, if you have no other recourse than to have a nanny for your dear kiddies and more especially if you are an expat, you have to choose your nanny with utmost care after all you are placing your kid’s safety on her hands.

 

A care from a Daycare

After moving to a new place due to job relocation, we were left with no choice but to send him to a daycare center as we were new to the place and knew no one to take care of him.  A daycare is cheaper but it is crowded. There were 20 sometimes more toddlers in one room with only two adults to look after them.  Due to this, he was sick most of the time. The worst thing he got from there was Foot and Mouth Disease.  It was such a trying time for us.

 

The choice is yours

As parents, we gotta do what we gotta do, right?  Our decisions could either break or make our kids.  It’s hard, but it’s something that comes with parenthood.  Depending on your present circumstance, whether you are an expat, single parent, working mom or dad, the choice is yours.

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Maternity Leave is Over: What Now?

Prior to having kids I had been adamant and vocal about the need for mothers to take care of their babies themselves.  It was my intention and it is an ideal thing to do.  Reality bites though,  I have to work, as the case with many moms and dads out there.

Our kids grew up with nannies.  They spent most hours of the day five days a week with a nanny.  Our first child had a Filipino nanny.  She was loving and motherly.  She took care of the kids very well.  Yes,  she had three toddlers under her care.  Our second child on the other hand had a Thai nanny.  She had two babies to take care of.  She was a grandmother and also motherly.  I say we got to experience the best and the worse of both worlds. Both are similar in some ways yet so different in many ways. I will talk about this in length in my next post.

Anyway,  would we have it in any other way?  Well,  I don’t  think so.  We did not have much choice.  As both of us have to work full time (for the visa) , so looking after our then toddlers was simply out of the question.  I think many expat parents share my view on this.  In as much as we want to be there especially during this stage, we can’t,  and all we can do is choose the best option there is.

For Thai expats there are several options to choose from.

  • One is to ask a relative especially your mom and/or dad to look after your kid (for other culture this might be preposterous but for Asians this is acceptable and practical). They could apply for Non-O visa to be able to stay.  Siblings however are not eligible. This is the kind of set up particularly preferred by those whose parents are retirees or are just not working.
  • Second is sending your child to a day care that accepts infants and very young toddlers.
  • Third is hiring a nanny.

If you would like to know more about our experience regarding this please click here.

For expats out there,  which of the following choices above would you prefer?

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Explore and Experience

It was Visakha Bucha,  a Buddhist holiday where Thais visit temples to pray, when we decided to visit Nakhon Sri Thammarat, the largest city in the South of Thailand. This one day trip had been educational since our kids hadn’t only gotten to experience a Buddhist religious practice, they also explored some ancient artifacts in the temple’s museum dating back to Bangkok period.

This is Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, the main and oldest buddhist temple in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.  Directly in front of the temple’s right wing entrance is the museum.  Inside, you’ll find three large chambers where ancient artifacts that date back to Bangkok period were exhibited. There were hand painted metal cabinets of varying sizes, brasswares,  copperwares, glasswares, and chinas.  Aside from these, there were weapons,  textiles, a few preserved sea creatures, and numerous sea shells.  It is a great place to explore and a good reinforcement for kids studying history and marine life. Taking of photos are not allowed here.

This was taken just outside the museum.  A row of seating,  golden Buddhas outlined the entire length of this side of the temple. On the same chamber,  were displays of huge whale remains and other marine life.

Summer and Derick offered incense and flowers, and said their prayers.

 

Despite the scorching heat of the sun, exploring Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawin was a great experience.

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Life Starts At 40

There’s some truth in “Life starts at 40”.

A relatively healthy person frequents clinics or hospitals during his 30’s.  Pains and sickness seem to appear out of nowhere during this time. If these symptoms are left unattended could complicate into something serious, as often told by doctors to patients.  Our body is like a car.  After the warranted years, bolts loosen up and parts wore off.  As we near our 40’s, people start thinking of lifestyle change such as quit smoking, limit alcohol in-take, engaging oneself in a regular exercise, and eating healthy.  Reasons vary.

For us, we want to live long enough to see our kids grow and attain stability in life, and if our bodies permit maybe meet our grandchildren.

Among the lifestyle changes mentioned above, the latter two are the most challenging for us.  But since we need to start afresh on our 40’s we have to take on the needed changes.

  • Exercise your way to a healthy you.  We are home buddies and a bit of couch potatoes, sadly.  Up until this time we haven’t settle on a regular exercise routine.  Aside from this, we also found our super structured schedule 24/7 a great hindrance. We hope to get our acts together on this ASAP.
  • You are what you eat, so eat healthy.  We LOVE to eat. The health issues we are facing at the moment is food related. So this is definitely the first thing in the MUST Change List.

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Practices Which Could Put Child’s Play Time to a Minimum

“To a child playing is learning.” ∼ MitchRyan

Play is one of the most important factors for normal developmental growth in any child. It is a child’s world, as a matter of fact it could be the only world for them. In this world a child learns to solve problems, learn things around them like color, shapes, learn to do things like grasp, crawl, balance, and understand the concept of cooperation, negotiation, and give and take.  These in effect lead to the development of more sophisticated cognitive, affective, and psychomotor tasks along the way.
Modern times, however, has curtailed child’s play time to almost nothing. Our lifestyle is so structured towards getting things done that 24 hours is not enough. People are busy making a living leaving no moments for play and relaxation. Why is this? It’s because doing so is a waste of time. It seems like these days are all about competition, profit, and innovation. Although these are excellent goals, these on the other are all result oriented. Hence the process leading to the result is given the least priority which thwarts a child’s normal developmental growth. As parents if we want to see our children grow to become great individuals who have achieved their fullest potential then we must start looking into the process of making great individuals.

Now, here are practices which I think put child’s play time to a minimum.

  • Kids taking up too many after school classes and/or lessons on the weekends
  • Too much screen time
  • Obsession on having high scores (mostly parents)
  • Class ranking and competition especially during the early years
  • Early school years inappropriate curriculum. For example, some schools give emphasis on writing and listening, thus, the series of writing books, long hours of sitting. Kids are reprimanded for not holding pens properly and are branded having ADHD because they could not sit for long hours.
  • Too many homework

Reality bites! The degree may vary from one culture to the other but sadly these are true. These and many other practices run havoc on our child’s play time which, to reiterate, is one sure process for children to engage in a meaningful learning. Play should be treated as a form of lifestyle for children.

Playing is a child’s lifestyle.∼ MitchRyan

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What Happens When Mood Swinger Mom Meets Drama Queen Daughter?

 

The struggle is real, believe me.  The result depends on what side of the mood spectrum is Mom at that moment.

From experience a drama queen is always a drama queen at all times, may she be dealing with simple or complicated things.

The gravity of the impact lies on the mood of the moment.  When Mom is in the mood, circumstances are dealt with calmly, patiently, and even humorously. However when Mom is in a dark mood, a petty circumstance could mushroom into an atomic bomb within seconds.

As a Mom, this is a great parenting concern.  I’ve realized and seen the negative effects of my blurting out and “mismanagement” during those times when I’m in a lighter mood. But like what I’ve mentioned, it is  a tremendous task. It is a struggle that up until now is unresolved.

Moms out there who might be in the same boat as I am or if you happen to know of someone who was able to successfully overcome this, please do share your thoughts below.  It’d be deeply appreciated.

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Old Calendars for Something Educational

Don’t throw old calendars, re-use them for something educational.
Alphabet flashcards may not be that expensive, but then why buy when you can do it yourself, right? Coloring them is fun and relaxing. I enjoyed it. Besides I get to showoff my coloring skills to my daughter who is into drawing. She likes the way I do it and so she’s trying to imitate it.  Now, she’s good at it.
So what I did here was printed out free printable alphabet from the internet (What2Learn.com). Although you can print them out in colored ink, I chose black and white. It’s no fun if all you need to do is print, cut, and paste. Go the extra miles, color them yourselves and bring out the artist in you. Your kids can help out too. It’s a good way to teach coloring techniques and color combination and mixture. Anyway, after that I glued them onto old, hard paper calendars like these.
And voila!
As I was looking at the finish product, I thought, it would have been better if I colored the letters with a similar color. That way, they would have aesthetically “jot” out instead of getting lost in the riot of colors in the background.
What do you think?

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DIY Gift Wrapping

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My daughter loves to draw. She started to show interest at a very young age.  I saw how her drawings improve through the years.  She is very proud of her drawings, and we have always made sure she gets all the encouragement and praises she needs to go on.  She draws anytime and every time an idea sparks and she does this wherever she is at that moment.

One instance, we have to attend a birthday party of one of her friends. Although we were informed days before, I was too busy that I forgot to prepare for it.  So on the said day, I hurriedly bought a gift for the little girl but forgot to buy a gift wrap.  I was a bit panicking since there were still other things to do. Good thing, my daughter had a great idea, DIY gift wrapping.

On a paper she drew a family, wrote a greeting, and added some designs. She used this to wrap the gift. She recycled a ribbon, and voila.

DIY Gift Wrapping
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What do you think?

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BEST TIPS TO CONTROL DUST MITES

Dust mites love to breed in moist areas like your bed. You could be sleeping in with possibly thousands or even millions of dust mites lurking in your bed. Experts say that there are approximately up to 2,000 microscopic cousins to spider in just an ounce of mattress dust.

Crazy!

And that could lead to a lot of health problems such as skin allergy and asthma. Dust mites can be pretty hard to eliminate, but if you take small effective steps constantly, this can help reduce their numbers in time.

Here are some easy tips to help you.

1) Deprive Mites of Moisture

Dust mites die when there is insufficient moisture in the air. So always keep humidity levels low. You can use a dehumidifier to maintain your room’s humidity level to something in between 30 to 50 percent. Another great way is to use waterproof mattress pad to cover vinyl mattress, and a vinyl covered pillow with zipper to seal and protect your pillows.

2) Keep your room cool

Dust mites do not just live with moisture but also thrive in warm weather. To fight back and reduce dust mites, one way is to keep your room temperature low. Open your windows to get some fresh air and cool down your room.

3) Wash bedding weekly, in hot water

Wash your mattress pads, blanket and duvets for at least once a month, pillow cases and sheets at least weekly in hot water above 130 degrees. A temperature of 130 degrees and F are what kills dust mites.

 4) Flip and Vacuum regularly

Your mattress should also be flipped regularly, recommended every time your season changes. You also have to clean your mattress regularly by vacuuming. Regular vacuuming will keep your mattress clean and sanitized. Remove all the bedding and sprinkle a mixture of baking soda and essential oil. This removes odor, dust and bacteria on your mattress. Vacuum your mattresses every time you flip them. If you have some extra budget, invest in a vacuum with HEPA (high efficiency particular air) filter which is designed specifically to suck up allergens.

5) Buy washable toys

Even if how cute they are, stuffed toys can accumulate dust quickly and is not recommended to sit on your bed. But if you insist, opt for toys made of plastic or those washable toys that you can wash regularly together with your beddings.

6) Use allergen blocking covers

Protect yourself from allergens by encasing your mattress and pillows with allergen blocking covers.  These covers prevent dust mites from making your bed their real estate.

7) Use Protection

Stains can be pretty hard to remove so definitely, avoid messy mishaps to your mattress. But it is quite inevitable to not mess your mattress no matter how keen you are to avoid staining it. So a great way to protect your mattress is by using mattress pads. Mattress pads shield your mattress from food spill over, blood, urine, sweat and other possible stains.

8) Clean stains

In the event that you forgot to put on a mattress pad and you spill over some coffee, make sure to clean them right away. You can use an upholstery shampoo or dry suds to remove them. Dry suds are an alternative way of cleaning stains. This is made by mixing a quarter of detergent liquid and a few teaspoons of water.

Bed bugs and dust mites are some of the leading causes of asthma and other allergies. And these allergens are mostly found in our beds. It’s the time to fight back. Use these great tips to reduce stubborn allergy causing substances in your bed. And you should be able to relax and sleep at ease knowing that you have a clean and healthy bed to sleep with!

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Protect Me, Mom and Dad….

cyber world

Modernization is just another jungle closing in. – Evelyn Waughn

Whether we like it or not, this jungle called modernization is unavoidable. Its influence on our children is unfathomable.  A family may prohibit or delay the use of internet at home, but let’s face it, everywhere else it is accessible.  Unless we want to seclude our family into the most isolated corner of the world, which is quite impossible, we have to deal with the dangers head on and face the responsibility affiliated with being parents in this era. One of the significant features of this era is the cyber world.

                Cyber bullying is right up there together with other pressing problems. It has evolved along with technology. Bullies going to Facebook walls calling people names and or posting humiliating photos and the likes. A long time ago bullying was a huge school problem, well it is still now, only colossal in magnitude.  In our age of electronic gadgetries bullying has transcended into the cyber world. It has become more of a difficult job of looking after our kids compared to just visiting them at school or keeping watch over them in the school playground or yard.

Let us protect our children from this with familoop safeguard.

                Now, with the advent of I-pads and i-phones and androids and all of these modern gadgets our kids bring, it is just impossible to be keeping track of who they are talking to or who they meet and what they are watching.  It definitely is a whole new level. While this modernization has tons of positive attributes it also comes with it a huge responsibility for us parents to be looking after our kids as there are dangers that lurk with every website that they click to. Children as early as two years old or even younger already know how to use a cellphone, an Ipad, or a tablet.  The ubiquiousity of these seem to permit an earlier cognitive, psychomotor, and affective consciousness in children. Familoop parental control helps parents monitor and control children’s activities online.

                Pornography, perhaps, is the most common problem that we parents want to steer our kids away from. Pedophilia is not that far behind. Pedophiles have found their perfect instrument by browsing and surfing the internet looking at children photos all they want. Sexting is also a thing with phones nowadays where they send salacious messages be it through text or photos over the internet. Online safety for kids is of utmost importance to protect children and youth from these monstrosities.

What online precautionary measures do you  have at home?

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