of quality time

I think this is a common issue with Moms who have more than one child.  My younger boy turned 11 months yesterday. His older brother is 6 years old.  Before my younger son was born, we were like two peas in a pod, well, sort of.  I take the effort to bring him to places he wants to go, explain to him things he doesn’t understand, and answer his questions – no short answers as in “I’m not sure”, “I think so”, “maybe”, etc.

Now, he often asks me why we don’t go to places anymore.  There were often times that I feel as though I don’t spend enough one on one time with him.  Of course, there are those times which I think are “quality” times for instance on the way to school and home Monday to Friday, on weekends while his little brother is asleep (or awake), and other mini-chats in between activities. many mini-chats in between – it’s just here and there.

But still ….when I see him playing with this toys, his favorite game or watching his favorite TV shows alone. I still feel …  A friend of mine said, “He’s 6 years old – he needs to learn to appreciate some time – for himself”. “Wow… really?”, I said.

I read about effects of having “quality” time with your children.  Sometimes, some reads shook me a little. Just picking out from what I read recently, a comment in one of the forums by “Suabel”’. Here’s what she said which comforted me.

Just jumping in, but I have three kids and worked part time through the school year.  I think “quality” time is overrated.  Most of my time is spent with all three kids.  We have lots of “quantity” time, and I try to make the most of it.  We chat in the car to swim practice; we joke around while doing the dishes, etc.

I really think that being available to your child is key.  The moments will happen.  As they get older, in my experience, you do start to separate from your kids.  It’s normal.  I try to make the most of my time with them, realizing that we may never have the intense bond we did when they were toddlers or preschoolers, because their horizons have expanded and it’s healthy for them to develop outside interests and relationships as well.

That said, I end up scheduling time with each of my daughters, to ensure that they get private time with me. Sometimes this is just a ten-minute bedtime chat, other times it’s a lunch out with mom.  We don’t spend a lot of money–the best activities are simple ones. My six-year-old loves to help me cook and sometimes I’ll let her choose the recipe and we get lots of good moments while involved in that.  Having a baby as well complicates matters, but certainly doesn’t preclude it.

When I had a young one, I’d pop her in the sling and go about my business with the big kids.  Generally the baby didn’t mind not getting my one-on-one, but the big girls did.

I only have two. I salute all Moms who have more.

Have a good week!

Establishing Limits With Your School-Age Child

Have not been writing much, rather bogged down with “things” but I came across the following and thought I’d record this here. My 6 year old loves to say no”, and can be quite demanding at times!

Here’s what WebMD has to say about establishing limits with kids:

Many children ages 6 to 10, if left to their own devices, would eat pizza 3 times a day, 7 days a week, or play video games for hours at a time. That is because they have not developed control over their drives and appetites, which can include cravings for specific foods, toys, and things, as well as for praise and attention.

Parents who set limits for their children show them that they love and care about them. The following suggestions may help you to establish fair and appropriate limits for your school-age children:

  • Be a hands-on parent and pay attention to what your children are doing. Are their activities harmful or dangerous? For example, do they consistently obey your safety rules while bicycling? Girls may not be as interested as boys are in taking obvious physical risks, but their activities also need to be monitored.
  • Get help in knowing what is right for your children’s developmental level. Seek movie and video reviews that rate violence and sexual content for families. Likewise, seek nutritional information on the food you buy for the family.
  • Set reasonable limits for your children, and spend time explaining those limits. Family rules and the consequences of breaking those rules should be well established and understood.
  • Be ready to reassess limits. As children mature, they will continually outgrow some limits. You might ask your 6-year-old child not to leave his or her own yard when playing outside. By age 10, your child may be responsible enough to play within a larger defined area, such as your cul-de-sac or block. Most children can appreciate the idea that they will be able to do more activities when they are older. When considering expanding your children’s limits, it may be helpful to discuss specifics as a family and give the children a voice in the process. This can help your children to feel that their opinions are important and develop confidence that their good behavior will be rewarded. Eventually, when your children are ready, you can give them the opportunity to set their own limits and, in doing so, teach them self-control.

You can also help your children develop healthy habits by being a good role model. Your everyday actions greatly influence your child’s behavior.

of blogging and stuff

r e c a l l i n g    c a n    b e    q u i t e    t r i c k y :)

I have not been writing as much as I used to.  I have been lazy. Period.  Still, I hope to pick up as I do like scribbling down my thoughts! As a child, I wondered why my Dad wrote in a journal daily, often just a few sentences about the weather,  visits, etc. I understand now. We write to remember.

Those few sentences I wrote years ago help me to remember things for instance when Ian learned to ride his bicycle for the first time or  how he first communicated with friends and the like. If not journalized (now it’s blogged!), I wouldn’t have remembered what exactly transpired just before Valentine’s Day  two years ago:

“As soon as we reached home, he got off the care very quickly. Seconds later, he rushed back to me,  no pants on. He pulled my hands while saying, “Mommy, come! Help me turn on the lights. I want to go to the toilet.  I want to pass urine”.  During the ride home, he whined, he rushed me, etc. Only then I realized what the whining was all about!  It was rather amusing…gave him a BIG hug! . Our little prince is not little anymore, he’s about to ditch his diapers…. “

Posted on February 23, 2010

I have composed many posts in my head over the weeks and not taken the time to blog them.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Kung Fu Panda 2

yup! that’s him!

During the recent school term break, I had the chance to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 with my eight year old son, Ryan.  We promised to spend time watching an interesting movie together and treat the day as ‘mom and son day out’.  Wow, we apparently chose the very right movie for both of us.  A genuinely good movie!  I had seen many animated movies in the past and Kung Fu Panda 2 is excellent, one of the best definitely.

In this movie, Po and the Furious Five were trying to defend the Valley of Peace.  Lord Shen, a peacock used a technology to put an end to Kung Fu and to finally conquer China.  Po and the Furious Five were also trying to destroy Lord Shen’s weapons.

DreamWorks creates wonders, totally!  Now tell me … who would not enjoy watching those beautiful landscapes used in the movie? They were carefully and artfully designed. I think the powerful emotional experience and great humor lasted longer than viewers have anticipated.  One of the factors that probably drew a wider (if not the widest) audience was the suitability of the content – parent would not think twice accompanying their kids to the theatre to watch this movie! The mixture of family values and friendship definitely did not overshadow the strong sense of fatherhood also depicted in this movie. This movie is equally  entertaining to adults and parents!

The voice casts were done by top actors and actresses which was the strong drawing factor for this animated feature kind – Jack Black as Po, Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Lucy Liu as Viper, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu, Gary Oldman as Lord Shen, James Hong as Mr. Ping, Michelle Yeoh as The Soothsayer, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Master Croc, just to name a few.  My personal favorite goes to James Hong as Mr. Ping.  As Po’s dad, he was  trying his very best not to be emotionally wrecked when his ‘son’ tried to discover the truth about his past and ventured out on a dangerous mission to save China. The combination of words, gestures, facial expressions, actions, fears, confusion, sadness, loves, all made his character really stood out above the rest.

The movie was able to get a strong message across :  someone with inner peace is able to love himself and others as well.  The strength and the power of inner peace must not be overlooked as it can counter setbacks and challenges in life. A beautiful message to spread to the viewers, don’t you think?

While watching the movie, I recalled one part that  touched me deeply.  I turned to my side and asked, “Are you alright, sweetheart?”  He said, “Ermmm this 3D glass makes my eyes…warm and blurry, mommy.”  I said to him, “Oh, don’t worry.  It makes mommy’s eyes warm and blurry too but we’ll be fine once we take it off.”  Like I said, Kung Fu Panda 2 is truly a good film to experience with your family and friends.  I need to remind myself to buy the DVD and keep it for my 6-month baby to watch when he’s a little older.

For those of you who have watched the movie, apart from laughing your hearts out, did you experience warm and blurry eyes like we did?