FEATURED, My Kids

The Sound of Music

Last December 8, we had the chance to catch Janina Punzalan’s second to the last stint as Brigitta in Resorts World Manila’s production of The Sound of Music. I personally love the movie, and ever since we heard that Janina was doing the show, I told my girls that we would watch her. Good thing my friend and Janina’s mom ate Jenn advised me to let the girls watch the movie before seeing the show. Little did I know that my daughters would just love it!

Danae and Noelle were pretty stoked that night. But Noelle, being 2, almost wasn’t allowed to enter! I quickly told the guy that she’ll be 3 in January and that nobody told us that rule when we purchased tickets. I did tell our contact the ages of my girls. He accommodated us but reminded us to, in not so many words, keep her “controlled.” I was a tad worried that my kids would misbehave, and it didn’t help that beside me was an older gentleman, an old-school politician who ran for president at one point if I’m not mistaken. The pressure! I heard him say though that he was impressed by the theater, that it was “better than Broadway.” The Newport Performing Arts Theater IS excellent. It has that revolving stage too. Anyway, there were a few times that the girls kept moving, and singing even when the song they were singing was already done haha, but they were relatively well-behaved.

Their reactions were priceless! Noelle said before it started, “I’m so happy. Oh my heart.” When the nuns opened the show, she asked me “Who’s that mom? the NUMS?” haha. Every time the scene changed and the lights went out, she would ask me if it’s done or say “Turn on the lights.” And they were such experts! They would both sing along to the music. Noelle kept asking if it was time for “So long, farewell,” her favorite part, and a few times pointed out that the character was not doing something that they saw in the original. Danae would say things like “It’s different. That’s not the song there.” or “That’s a new song.” And they got very excited when they would see their ate Janina, now dubbed as Ate Brigitta.

The show was 3 hours long, mind you. By the second hour, I was getting concerned because Noelle was getting antsy. Both girls were saying they were hungry. Good thing it was near intermission already, by which time they were able to be free & run around outside. I was glad Noelle had an emergency diaper on, and that Danae was able to use the bathroom right before the doors closed for the second act. I’m pretty proud of my girls. Danae was also 2 when she watched her first shows The Wanders and Disney on Ice, although those were just 2 hours long at the most. Amazing, come to think of it.

Danae wanted to say hi to ate Janina after the show and was close to tears when I told her that it may not be possible. Thank God ate Jenn texted me to meet them at the lobby. Danae and Noelle are such fans, and rightly so. Janina was awesome! She had probably the biggest part among the children, next to Liesl of course. She had the most lines and her voice was just beautiful. We are so proud of her! We love you Janina! 🙂

Just My Thoughts, Parenting

SOUND FAMILIAR?

I’ve taken note of these conversations in the past months because they made me think. Campus missionary Francis Villanueva’s great preaching at youth service yesterday about LUSOT, LAKAD & LAGAY, pushed me to finally finish and post it.

Me: Nae, don’t stand on that chair. Your sister will copy you. (a constant line in our household)

Danae: Oooh o-kay. I don’t want to be an “ATE” na.

Me: Why?

Danae: ‘Coz Noelle always copies me eh.

It really struck me when I had this conversation with Danae months ago. Don’t we feel pressured at times to be on our best behavior because people are watching? But that is the reality. People are watching and emulating us. So we can either choose to not care and do whatever we want, or be responsible and set a good example.

At a party last August, Danae tore up the package of a yoyo and just threw it on the floor.

Me: Hey Nae, are you supposed to do that?

Nae: It’s okay mom, everybody did it.

Me: Pick it up. Even if everybody is doing it, if you know it’s wrong, don’t do it. Even if everybody does it, it doesn’t mean it’s right.

Kids at Danae’s age can reason out like this already. Even though we started her early, teaching her to throw trash only in the trash can at age 1, she still came up with this reasoning. It definitely reminds me of what Ms Jenn Punzalan said at the EN10 pre-con, that if it is that important, it is worth repeating. Doing our part in keeping the earth clean is very important to me, and therefore it is worth repeating, teaching it to our children over and over again. And it definitely reminds me of our nature as humans. We can easily be influenced by our environment, our culture. Let’s stand for what we know is right and back it up with action.

When we arrived from marriage boosters one night last August, Danae told me she watched something.

Danae: Mom, I watched Chicken Little.

Me: Oh yeah? Where?

Danae: On Disney channel. I changed it. (smiling mischievously)

Me: Ok, you’re gonna get the rod for that.

Danae: But mom, you were not here.

Me: You know the rules. You’re not supposed to change the channels by yourself. You need to obey even when Daddy and Mommy are not home.

Do we obey traffic laws only when there are cops or MMDA present? Are we honest with our business affairs or school tests even when no one is watching? Do we choose to do what is wrong even when we know what is right? Do we keep doing what is wrong, waiting for someone to point it out to us before we stop?

In Cagayan de Oro last month, in Coron last July, in Boracay last February….

King: Bible time!

Danae: No, only at home!

Me: We read the Bible not only at home, but wherever we go.

I think she finally got it since she didn’t say this the other night in Tagaytay. We must form the habit of reading our Bible daily. There are no vacations in connecting and communing with God.

Parenting

EN2010 (pre-con): Discipleship@Home

There were quite a number of sessions before EN2010, and King wanted me to attend the international staff meeting Wednesday morning, the day before the conference. I had to wait for Danae’s class to finish, pick her up, get the kids and everything ready, then proceed to ENLI building in the Fort. In other words, I missed the staff meeting. But King relayed Ptr Jim Laffoon’s message to me and I couldn’t agree with him more when he said that we need to be careful with technology, be careful that it does not take over our personal life, our priorities. It’s so easy to be so absorbed in the internet, facebook, our phones, etc. That convicted me and made me decide to turn on my computer for blogging & stuff, as much as possible, when the kids are asleep or when I know it will not interfere with my priorities. I don’t like that often Noelle has to literally pull me away from the computer when she wants me to just sit with her. She and the rest of my family should come first.

Anyway, we were able to drop the kids off at my in-laws’, and I attended the afternoon break-away session of my choice: Discipleship@Home. Who’s Discipling Your Kids? I picked up a lot, listening to Ptr David Houston, his wife Sandy, our Ninong Ptr Paolo Punzalan, and his wife Jenn. Awesome, witty, funny, real people who are imperfect parents just like us, who know what we’re dealing with, and who make a whole lot of sense. Our Alabang senior pastor, Ptr Ariel hosted it, and he and his wife Shirley are also one of the couples we look up to especially with regards to parenting. Some of the things shared, I already knew. On one hand, it encouraged me all the more to keep doing what we’re doing, and on the other, it reminded me of the things that we have forgotten and that we should be doing. Still some were somewhat new, and it’s always great to learn from people who are wiser and more experienced than myself. Let me share the points that struck me the most.

Life is in the power of the tongue, and it is especially powerful when the father speaks it to his children. Dads! Your kids need verbal affirmation from you, just like how God affirms His children. Even if it’s uncomfortable for you, do it anyway. Your kids will not even know that you’re feeling awkward, and they will definitely appreciate it, whether they express it to you or not.  And dads! Don’t give all your energy at work. Save the best for your family, so that when you get home, you won’t be too tired to engage with your wife and with your children. Pray for your kids and speak destiny to their lives. Be the one to put them to sleep. The quality time you spend with them will have a great impact on them. King is an expressive dad who makes time for our kids, but I still immediately downloaded these to him. Fathers have such a critical role in the lives of children, and we want to do right by ours.

We need to say our instruction ONE TIME and back it up with consequence when disobeyed. This is of course based on Biblical discipline and our instructions are those that are best for our children, not those that harm them. Many times we wait to get angry before we take action in disciplining our kids. I’ve experienced this a lot. We need to discipline them right away the first time they disobey. That way, we’re still moving patiently, IN LOVE, and NOT OUT OF ANGER. We need to be consistent, no matter how tiring and taxing, and believe that discipline will bear the peaceable fruit of righteousness. I say amen to that and I believe we are improving. It’s very timely too, because Noelle is also a force to be reckoned with hahaha.

Discipleship happens at the dinner table. Let’s eat with our kids! It can be stressful especially in my case, I have a 1-year old who won’t stop calling me until I look at her and acknowledge what she’s doing or take care of what she needs, a talkative 4-year old, and then a husband who wants to tell me about his day. Trust me, it can get crazy! But if we let other people feed them so we can eat in peace (which I do sometimes for valid reasons, but not usually), how can we teach them table manners? More importantly, how can we teach them to pray, or not to waste, or to share? There are many teaching moments at the dinner table, from etiquette to prayer, to being thankful, to generosity, to quality time, to family, to God’s Word and so on. Let us teach and disciple our own kids.

If we fail to point them to God, we are missing what really matters. Ms Jenn shared this story about a mom who gives demerits to her son whenever he does not get a perfect score in his quizzes or tests. That’s a bit extreme, but I know I too have a tendency to over-emphasize the importance of grades, of answering tests correctly. I realized that when Danae had her first set of long tests this week. I felt bad because I felt like I pressured her about knowing the right answers to her test, since we already went through them. I saw her face when I showed my disappointment that she wasn’t able to answer me when I was reviewing her. Thank God it didn’t stick! I really do not want her to be pressured to do really well in school just because she wants to please me. My kid is smart. I want to trust in her abilities. I want her to enjoy test days as she enjoys ordinary school days, and not dread them. But what really matters is she learns to do the work, learns to ask God for guidance & wisdom, and eventually she learns to be excellent — to be excellent not in fear of Mommy’s wrath, but to be excellent as an overflow of her desire to please God.

We need to let little boys be little boys. Let them be active! The first thought that popped in my head was, “What if my little girl is LIKE a little boy?” Haha. Danae is super active and she can definitely run with the boys, but I guess the answer to my question is the same. Let her be her. As long as we give her boundaries, guide and discipline her, I believe it’s right to let her be herself, be who God made her to be and not make her conform to what society thinks a girl should be.

Two other points that Ptr Paolo & Ms Jenn gave were that the relationship is more important than the rules and that it has to be in you before it can be in them. Click here and here for their blogs that beautifully capture these points.

I really enjoyed this pre-conference session because it is a serious subject, one that is very close to my heart, but the speakers made it light and fun. I did not feel condemned for my mistakes, but convicted to correct them and encouraged to keep at it. I love what Ptr David said about restoration after the painful discipline. We embrace our kids, we wipe away their tears, we forgive them, we assure them of our love, because that is how our Father deals with us when we repent of our sins as well. Thank God He forgives me for all the mistakes I make, that He loves me unconditionally, that He gives me hope and grace to be a better mother. 🙂