Our 3-day hospital confinement was the best time Caitie learned about life! She learned so many things beyond the “subjects” and “lessons” I’ve prepared before hand. We understood more about her personality and at the same time, her Character got molded. I think this is what home schooling is all about and I’m just so excited next year to officially be one.
Below are the life lessons we observed and learned from Caitie. I hope somehow it will help those who may be dealing with similar toddler issues.
On June 18 at 11:36am, Ethan was born. Jayjay and I both agreed that Caitie should be the first person outside the delivery room to greet Ethan a warm welcome into the world.
Jayjay explained to her what just happened and they counted from 1-10. Upon opening her eyes, Dra Capistrano was holding the baby and introduced Ethan to Caitie. At first she was hesitant but after explaining to her and Dra giving Ethan a kiss on the forehead, Caitie understood who the baby was and gave his little brother a warm kiss.
4 hours after recovery, I was wheeled in to our private room. Watching how Caitie is responding to Ethan’s arrival, I realized that our daughter has indeed become a lady. It was like she matured overnight! It was easier to converse with her! She joyfully helped out whenever she would hear her brother cry, cared for mom, entertained guests and packed up her toys.
I remember my brother and sis-in-law reminding us when Caitlin was born never to use baby talk no matter how tempting or how cute it was. To simply converse with her normally. And so we did. We still have some problems syllabicating some words like “wo-wo” to “water” but hopefully as the number of her teeth adds up, itll be clearer.
Being a new parent then, we wanted to have step-by-step manual on how to be one yet the Lord reminds us that it is indeed a day-by-day learning.
One of the key verses in our parenting style is in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
So Jayjay and I had this “who she will be” or “future Caitie” mentality in the things that we teach her now.
One of these is communication. Realizing that most relationship problems we experience are caused by miscommunication, we wanted to teach Caitie to practice good and clear communication. Something that we ourselves are learning together with her.
When she was 6 months, I read up on simple sign language. I looked silly doing the “all done” sign but when Caitie finally did it one time, everyone started to practice it at home and Caitie was less frustrated and was able to express when she’s “all done”, when she wanted “more” “no more” to “drink milk” and so on.
Contrary to most belief, Caitie was able to transition from sign language to speaking. Her first word was “one more” and slowly progressed items and later on phrases.
TRUST and INDEPENDENCE
I think because we try to clearly communicate with each other, this builds up Caitie’s confidence and builds our trust in her as well. We’re still a work in progress but we’re getting there. Its amazing how a child can teach us so many things we missed out growing up. That its never too late.
Often times we explain to Caitie situations and events before it happens, during and after it has happened. As we practice this, we also learn how to “let go” and let her experience the good and bad consequences of her decision after explaining things to her.
We didn’t want to “hover” or “dictate” to much of what she would be doing.
After checking or making an environment safe for play or exploration, we remind Caitie on safety and to always make sure she sees us and we see her. If shes not sure about anything, to come to us and ask. After, we then let her go.
We wanted to practice as early as now that as parents we are here to guide and not do things for her nor tell her to do it because we said so. We want her to make decisions not because of fear but because of love.
This part was a big learning curve as to when to use the word “Obey”. I remember the first time we contemplated on disciplining Caitie, we were hesitant then “boom” Proverbs 23:13 was our passage for the day! “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die”
Talk about perfect timing!
So now its clear in our home that when she disobey, delay in obedience or disrespect authority (dad, mom, yaya or relatives) she will get disciplined. I wanted her to understand that disobedience does have its consequences but it doesn’t change the fact that we love her. I prayed for God to give me wisdom when to use and word and what tone of voice to use it.
After every spanking session, we do have our “I love you’s” and “embrace” and jolly self once out of the room. Even as an adult, the consequences of disobedience is painful and we cant run away from it but it was never intended to harm us but to mold our character, the way God intended it to be. In the same manner, we want to apply this principle as early as now.
Right now, we’re slowly reaping the rewards and “obey” is not a scary word. Yes she fears it but I think her fear is now mixed with love. Like when we tell her at the hospital to obey dad and take a nap because we want her to enjoy playing when she wakes up!
Hebrew 12: 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
On my 36th week of pregnancy, we decided to have Caitlin around with us in the hospital and involve her with taking care of Ethan. We opted to get a hotel room for 2,000 + in st likes global but our reservation got cancelled. It was actually a good thing since my Blue cross plan covers room and maternity, we opted to get a bigger room to have Caitie in the same room with us. My confinement was like a hotel stay!
Caitie likes it when her dad gives her “tasks” or responsibilities. I see her light up and excited to help out. Having her around teaches us to also work on our personalities since we notice that how we respond or do things, shapes her personality as well. Involving her also gives us the opportunity to teach her practical life lessons and practice praising her often. We eventually create our own family traditions as we learn from each other. She eventually carries it over to other people even when we’re not around.
CONFIDENCE and SOCIAL SKILLS
2 of the many important lessons I learned from last year’s CCF marriage encounter seminar about parenting is to teach your child confidence and develop good social skills! But of course nobody wants an egotistic child, this confidence need to be centered on God-esteem. Something that I myself have been learning and continue to learn. To get my confidence in the Lord and not on achievements nor acceptance from people.
In her young age, social skills meant good manner and polite gestures of “Can I have please” ,”Can I borrow please” “Excuse me”
And most especially when it comes to toy handling.
I’ve been on a road block on how to explain to her when someone grabs hold of her toy. I didn’t want to just tell her that “it’s ok” and to just get another toy. I wanted her to learn something from it and respond accordingly. Because in life when she grows up, there would be instances that certain people might take advantage of you and I don’t want her to just tell herself that “Its ok”.
So after asking around, Jayjay and I decided to explain to Caitie how to respond when someone grabs her toy or when she wants something.
When someone grabs Caitie’s toy
When someone grabs a toy she’s using, instead of us immediately telling her to “share” it. Earlier we practiced “processing” what just happened and her emotions and asked her what she felt when a playmate grabbed her toy.
Then later on we wanted her to practice saying “not yet done” so we ask her if she’s done playing with it and she would say “not yet” and tell her to share a toy she’s not using or share in after she’s done. We saw Caitie practice this when a friend of ours visited and a toddler her age wanted to grab a toy she’s playing. I looked at Jayjay in amazement when I heard her say “not yet. Not yet” and affirmed her by saying “thank you for saying that you’re not yet done playing. Would you like to share the other toy that you’re not using?”
Caitie grabbing a toy
At home, we would practice with Caitie to do and say the “borrow” sign. But one time when we were out, Caitie experienced another child grab her toy, we noticed during Kindermusik class that she grabbed a toy from a classmate and made a boy cry! I think this is the first time that she made a boy cry! Haha!
Behind closed doors, we explained to Caitie and demonstrated “grabbing” and how she should respond. Caitie cried when we would grab her toy and allowed her to express what she felt. After a couple of demonstrations, I think she understood it. This “role playing” with the people she trusts did help in how to practice good social skills.
Hopefully building up her social skills will also let let practice living out the fruits of the holy spirit. To love others, to be joyful in sharing, to be patient in waiting for her turn, to show kindness and goodness by giving equal amount of food to everyone in the room and faithfulness to continue being selfless even if mom and dad are not around.
PROMISES AND SURPRISES
Building up Caitie’s confidence also meant that we had to practice to keep our word. Growing up, I was really affected when casual promises were made and were casually broken. So now, Im very cautious and not make casual promises. Things that may seem harmless but to an innocent child, these broken promises might break her heart.
Sometimes its really tempting to casually promise to let her receive or do things just to get what I want from her. Especially during eating time! Its really frustrating for a fast eater like me to wait on Caitie to finish her food. Tempting to tell her that I will let her do this or that “IF” she her food. It’s a constant struggle for me but I’m a work in progress.
FORGIVE and BE FORGIVEN
On our first night at the hospital, Caitie was really restless and instead of having a baby’s cry, our room was echoing a toddler’s scream. Jayjay was physically tired and raised his voice for Caitie to sleep. I knew Caitie Got hurt since she cried all the more. I asked her if she’s hurt because her the way her dad raised his voice and she said “yes”. Jayjay asked said “sorry” and practiced asking “will you forgive me” to Caitie. I knew Caitie got hurt and took a little bit of time until she said “yes” Jayjay said “thank you for forgiving me” and asked if she loves him and she said “yes”.
Forgiveness is such a big word nowadays that people brush it off and just wait for everything to be back to normal without meaning to “ask for forgiveness” even we ourselves are guilty of this. Especially when a person has hurt us, we usually just keep silent and let the course or nature play it’s part.
We pray that alongside with Caitie, we will learn to ask for forgiveness and approach someone who has hurt us. God is teaching the 3 of us a big lesson on this and I pray that we will graduate soon 🙂
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
We’re still early in our parenting journey but having a toddler and a newborn has taught us to work on ourselves first before teaching it to our children.
I accept that I’m are broken person and that I have so many flaws and make mistakes. I have done a lot of mistakes, had temper problems and most of the time, too much of an idealist or perfectionist. But am glad to be imperfect because whenever something good happens, I can say that it is only Grace. And that it was God who made it beautiful. I’m pretty sure that I would mess it up on my own.
I pray that God would continue to change me and give me wisdom. To Forgive those who have hurt me and ask forgiveness to those whom I have hurt. There are much years ahead of me and I pray that I will become less of me and more of Him.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Welcoming photos of Ethan is reserved for another blog post 🙂