MamaGuilt: I Hate Play-Doh!

Posted by Arvi on Saturday, May 07, 2016
We did another round of toys shake-up because, well, it seems like our toddler is starting to move out and a kid is slowly moving in. Dear heart, please.

Anyways, so another round of going through Ava's toys, clothes and other stuff included. If I was my 20-year-old self, going through my stuff and deciding which to keep and which to let go would be such a daunting task. But when Ava was born, I slooowly learned how to keep things that we only need. Plus, reading up about Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up helped a lot. This deserves another post. :)

Moving forward, so we went through all of Ava's toys and discussed which to keep and which to let go. A lot of bargaining but I think we both did a pretty good job. So on to my main point, one big move we did was to get rid of ALL our Play-Dohs!

Courageous Caitie

Posted by Arvi on Saturday, April 02, 2016
The story of Courageous Caitie hits so close to home even when the only thing I can relate to is me being a mother to Ava. Or probably because Ava's second name is Caelin which is an alternate version of Caitlin. We do not know the family on a personal level but like everybody else, we were still moved by her story. I only know of the courageous mom Feliz through different online mommy groups and communities. We got to exchange a few chitchats on threads and even had some exchanges through N@W GS. Here's a picture of Caitie wearing Ava's first birthday party dress. She looked so cute.

Caitie during their family trip to HK Disneyland, Photo by her Dad Jay Jay | Ava during her First Birthday Party

It was earlier this year when the mysterious case of of Caitie's illness started circulating. I read about her condition and updates and saw how similar her symptoms were with what my niece, Via, had when she was the same age as Caitie. I checked with my sister about the details of Via's condition back then and realized it was almost the same. I also had a quick chat with Feliz earlier on and shared Via's diagnosis, she told me that other people also mentioned it and it was already ruled out by the doctors. Word started to spread quickly and Caitie's story and the community supporting her continued to expand not only from the country but outside as well.

Daily Caitie updates became a habit. Talked about it with friends, online mom groups, group chats with other moms and more. The highs were celebrated and everybody cheered the family on. But it was when the lowest of times for the family I found it moving the most. Updates of Caitie being unstable, low oxygen levels, platelet of 1 and other complications were hard to take on. But the page becomes even more alive with people offering prayers and encouragement. I guess this was Caitie's effect, everyone is moved by how she courageously takes on what she's battling with that people are left in awe. There's just no room for sadness, just faith, an immense amount of faith.

Early Thursday morning I had to go to Baguio for work. While waiting for our meeting, I was chatting with my co-BLW moms when an update came up asking for prayers because of Caitie's critical condition. We were all hoping and praying for the next update to be a good one, a better one. It was probably the longest hour on Caitie's page as everybody awaited for the next update. And there it was.

A picture of Caitie in the arms of her parents. It was devastating.

After hearing the news, I wanted to immediately go back home to Ava and give her the tightest hug I can ever give. One of my co-BLW mom shared the same feeling as she was also at work. I immediately shared the news to Mr. T and told him how I feel. He just told me that he will take Ava with him when he picks me up later regardless of time.

And when I saw Ava in the car, that's exactly what I did.

An update from Feliz or Jay Jay after sharing the news of Caitie's passing..
Looking back... No wonder you were so advanced in everything. No regrets. So glad we brought you everywhere we could... Did everything we could. Became silly, study, play... Looking back, I know we did everything. No regrets. We lived it to the full. We flew around the world together... I will miss you pumpkin... your EQ, IQ was just so high... Your love for us was just so pure. I love you so much.
This is always on my mind as a parent. To make sure that we live our lives with Ava to the fullest. Day in, day out. It could be as simple as talking over dinner, it could be as grand as a trip to Disneyland. It won't matter. Because amongst all these things, time and love will matter most.

No words will ever be enough to explain the many questions of how and why this happened. I can only hope and pray for God's grace to provide peace and joy to the Lucas family in this very trying time.

Ava sends a message to Caitie. #flyhighcaitie

Books Over iPads

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, March 03, 2016
I was supposed to just put a post up on Facebook but Mr. T suggested I blog about it as well. Thought it was a good idea since I really haven’t published anything for quite some time. 

One of the things we made sure to work hard on as parents is to not let Ava become so hooked on watching TV and using our iPhones and/or iPads. At this digital age, it’s really hard work. For one thing, it should start with us as her parents and I tell you, up to this day we are still trying. This is in no way a swipe against parents and children who liberally use smartphones and tablets. I really believe that it's a personal preference. I think it only becomes bad when the use of tablets and other similar gadgets are way too excessive that it grows into a bad dependency and starts replacing human interaction. But if managed well, like any other technology and digitalization, it's an awesome help for parents in teaching young children.

Earlier on while Ava was still a chunky little belle, I chanced upon this video from one of the mommy groups I was in. If you have time, please do watch this video because it explains a lot about the effects of screen time to toddlers, even babies.

After watching, I immediately shared the link to Mr. T and right after we've both agreed that this is something we really want to work hard on. We uninstalled Youtube, a lot of game and baby apps on out iPhones and iPads. Ava was not entitled to any of our gadgets. She knows it's not hers, and she needs to ask and borrow only if and when we allow her.

Since we bring our stuff (phones and tablets) with us, a huge struggle in this practice was how to teach our Ate to adapt and make sure that Ava will not be glued to the TV all day while we're out. I'd like to believe that we've succeeded with teaching because we see positive results. We thoroughly explained what was discussed in this video, making sure they actually understand. Instead of totally cutting off watching TV, we just asked that it won't be a whole-day-watching-spree. Late afternoons, Ava is allowed to go out of the house and play, allowing her to interact and socialize with other people. After a while, we also shifted from battery-operated toys to wooden toys and other educational toys.