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Inigo loves frozen yogurt

2 Aug

playing with the chimes at Yogurt Froz

After a day of running errands, Mommy, Daddy and Inigo stopover for a froyo break at T. Morato.  Inigo is one of the rare kids who would prefer frozen yogurt to ice cream, and I am attributing it to the fact that I ate froyo a lot during my pregnancy.  Also, being breastfed up to now, he has probably acquired a taste for its tartness, since it is a known fact that the taste of foods consumed by a lactating mom often makes its way into her milk.




You can't come between a boy and his froyo

It is also a wonderful thing that at 1 1/2 years old, Inigo can already use a spoon by himself.  Ever a sweet boy, he makes sure that Mommy also eats by feeding me.  Probably payback for all the times when I was the one who would spoonfeed him.  I adore how he checks in, by asking me “Okay? Okay?”  He sure is growing up fast…

after the siege







At the end of this post is a link to Inigo’s video. Meanwhile, this was how the yogurt cup ended after Ego wound up eating almost all of it himself. Note that it is a large cup– that tummy does have a lot of space! Sorry for the picture and video quality, but Inigo played with the digicam before and drained all the batteries so I had to make do with my crappy camera phone.

Inigo’s video


Parenting Survey? Pass!

31 Jul

I was online browsing for references for an article I was writing for a client when I received a survey asking me to input some data for a parenting research.  It asked me to provide some information about me and my kid. I declined to answer the survey, fearing that it would eschew their sample and thus mess up their study.  Here is why: Continue reading

No-spill Bowl for Inigo

31 Jul

One of the better uses I have found for my hard-earned money is Inigo’s Loopa Gyro Bowl.  Read the full review where Inigo the Destroyer, certified Chef Tony’s popcorn lover puts it to the test: The Gyro Bowl versus Inigo the Destroyer.

Coping with Single Parenthood

30 Jul

I consider myself a single parent, despite being legally married (in a church and all) for several practical reasons.  First, my son and I live in a separate home from his dad; second, I no longer concern myself with whatever (whoever?)  my (ex?) husband chooses to do in his spare time; and three, when push comes to shove, I am the one who must adjust and accommodate to make sure that Inigo gets taken care of.  Continue reading

Mommy and Inigo’s Ordinary Afternoon

29 Jul

Warning: this is an ego-centric post.  Only for family, friends and avid Inigo fans.  Written due to insistent private demand. Continue reading

Mommy and Inigo's Ordinary Afternoon

29 Jul

Warning: this is an ego-centric post.  Only for family, friends and avid Inigo fans.  Written due to insistent private demand. Continue reading

Inigo goes to Cuts for Tots

27 Jul

Inigo always gets his hair cut at the Cuts for Tots salon. It’s more expensive than a visit to your corner barbershop but we (Ego’s Daddy Jay and I) think that it really is worth it. Read all about it in today’s review: Cuts for Tots Kiddie Salon.

Gymboree vs Kindermusik Part 2

15 Jul

So, as promised, in part 2 of this post, I would be giving a more detailed comparison of Gymboree and Kindermusik.

As I stated in Gymboree vs Kindermusik Part 1, my son enrolled in 4 week’s worth of toddler classes at Gymboree, and then we tried out a free toddler music class at Kindermusik

Inigo at the Gymboree Shang

From these experiences, as well as from online research and what I have heard and discussed with other moms in these class, I came up with the following comparisons:

Cost of Tuition

Gymboree requires that you pay a membership fee first before enrolling in any of their core classes.  Here in the Philippines, an annual Gymboree membership is P1800, while a lifetime membership (from enrolment until your kid turns 6—since Gymboree is only for infants until 5) costs 3600.  An annual membership comes with 5 Gymplay coupons, so that your kid can play in their tumble gym for free on the days when there are no classes.  A lifetime membership gets 10 Gymplay coupons.  You can also sign up for more than 4 weeks of classes.  In fact, the cost of tuition per class becomes cheaper when you enrol for longer terms.  For example, an 8-week term only costs 8, 600.

Enrolment in a core class costs P3400, which gets you and your kid four classes held once a week.  You can actually enrol your kid in more than one class at a time, but I don’t know how much it costs since I did not inquire.  Given my schedule, once a week is plenty for me and Inigo.

You can choose from different toddler classes, such as Music, Art, or Global Music.  Their signature class though, is Play and Learn, which is what Inigo and I signed up for.  The good thing about Gymboree is that your kids can enjoy unlimited Gymplay on the days when your kid is scheduled to have class, as long as there are no other classes scheduled on the play area.  Class schedules differ from branch to branch.  If you are not really sure which class your kid would prefer, you can ask to avail of a trail class.  You need to pay a preview fee of P500 to do this, but should you decide to enrol your kid after trying out a class, the P500 is deductible from the tuition.

On the other hand, Kindermusik classes are somewhat less expensive since you no longer have to pay any membership fees.  They say that the cost of Kindermusik classes vary from one branch to another but I wouldn’t know since I only inquired at the Congressional Avenue branch, which is closest to where we live.  A 15-week course of music classes costs P9, 600+, and they do have very flexible instalment options.  Unlike Gymboree, you can have as many free trial classes as you want before deciding to enrol, just to make sure that the Kindermusik program is right for your child.

They also have take-home materials for your kid such as CDs and other stuff, especially during the start of the course.  The trial class Inigo and I attended was actually the third one, so I was not sure what materials were given to the rest of the class.

Mode of Teaching

Kindermusik is actually a good approach to early learning.  In the class, the teacher used songs to teach various concepts like colors, sounds, and actions.  Teacher Christine had a good voice, and she was able to sing songs that incorporated various activities such as dancing with Mommy, using the toys, and following activities.

Mostly, the class involved sitting down activities such as singing songs and performing actions to the lyrics, exploring different things that you can do with the small toys like shakers and wooden pegs, and storytelling.  Teacher Christine also teaches sign language one gesture at a time, so that both the kids and their mommies learn a few as they go along.  For that particular class, I learned how to sign “STOP”, a concept which, unfortunately, I have yet to teach Inigo to obey.

I couldn’t really tell which activities are routine and which ones are varied from one class to another, since we only attended one session.  We were actually invited to come in on another class the following week, to be held by Teacher Suzette this time.  However, seeing how Inigo felt restless during class, I opted not to go.  As far as I can see, Inigo was not yet at that stage where he could appreciate such a class.  As a very active boy, it was frustrating for him to be asked to sit and sing for minutes at a time.

On the other hand, Gymboree is more of Inigo’s thing.  The toddler class we enrolled for seemed to bring out the best in both of us.  Instead of me always trying to stop him from exploring and climbing on things, it was a nice change of pace to be able to encourage him to go up on this ladder and slide down that way.

Each class begins with a song where kids and moms perform actions, similar to Kindermusik.  After this though, the next thirty minutes involves physical activities using the GymPlay set-up.  For example, Teacher Nina would roll out an entire bunch of small balls down the wedge and let the kids catch them as they roll.  Later on, she would direct them to pick up the balls and pack them away.  This particular activity helped me a lot, since Inigo learned that things must be kept after use.

There are also sit-down activities like more songs and parachute time.  Predictably, Inigo tries to run away during these activities and I let him, every once in a while.  His favourite though, is bubble time.  Teacher Nina sings and blows bubbles, encouraging the kids to pop the bubbles.  As she reminds us each time, this exercise improves hand-eye coordination.

Final word

Regardless of whether you choose to go with Gymboree or Kindermusik, I just would like to say a few words on the subject of toddler classes.  First, just make sure that your kid has a good time and truly enjoys being in the class.  Forcing him to stay when he does not want to defeats the purpose of enhancing his development.

Second, I strongly advocate joining your own kid in the class, instead of just letting him go with yaya.  These classes are great opportunities for bonding and spending time with your kids, and it is such a waste to let them experience it with someone who is not in the family.  If Mommy cannot do it, maybe Daddy could, or even Lolo, Lola, or Tita.  For my part, I have learned much from attending Gymboree in terms of how to communicate with my son, as well as how to approach his learning needs.

Gymboree vs. Kindermusik Part 1

9 Jul

inigo at gymplay

Gone are the days when kids only got enrolled for kindergarten at five years old. Back then, parents actually had to lie just to get their kids into school, since kindergarten teachers did not want to take in students who were younger than five. If you are a mom who can’t decide whether to go with Gymboree or Kindermusik for your child, the maybe this article could help.

As a mom myself, I am rather surprised that all that has changed now, since kids are being enrolled in as young as two and a half. As a nurse (albeit a non-practicing one), my opinion has always been that kids during their toddler and preschool years should not be enrolled for formal schooling, since their mental development will flourish better through unstructured play and activities. At this age, kids are better left to imaginative play and freestyle exploration.

I do have to admit though, that early enrollment in preschools does give a child a certain edge when it comes to socializing with their peers. This is especially important for kids who have no other venues for peer exposure. Here in the Philippines, play dates and daycare are not really available for very young kids so school is really the only option for kids to have friends and playmates. After all, in these crime-laden times, allowing your child to play with the neighbor kids on the streets is not a great idea.

My own beautiful boy has turned 1 and 1/2 and has become something of a handful. He is very active and curious about his environment and loves to tinker with everything (especially stuff that he is not supposed to, like my makeup!). And maternal pride aside, he shows signs of being intelligent and advanced for his age like being able to figure out how to reach the purse I already stowed on a high shelf.  To be frank, I really grow tired of having to restrict him all the time for his own good– I know that toddlers just love saying No all the time, but part of me wonders if partly gets it from me.  That was why I decided to go enroll in a Mommy and Me class, so that he and I could spend some bonding moments together and he could have an outlet to burn off all that energy he has.  Also, as a work-at-home mom, I could use the chance to have a regular schedule and a chance to go out.

Unlike preschool, Mommy and me classes are not really formal schooling.  There is no attempt to teach any of the school skills like reading or writing.  Instead, the focus is on allowing moms (or dads or yayas, for that matter) to interact with their kid on a series of activities.  It really is more of guided bonding time.  Plus, unlike school that you go to five days a week, a mommy and me class is typically 1-3x a week, and only an hour long.

We first tried Gymboree’s Play and Learn Class.  The pamphlet I was given says that this class teaches problem-solving skills through physical exercises and activities.  One thing that I love about Gymboree is that they have very distinct class groupings– each class only includes children who are within six to eight months of each other.  As most parents know, six months’ difference in ages count for a lot when it comes to infants and toddlers.  At 1 year and six months, my son was at L4 (Level 4 is for kids 18 to 22 months).

Gymboree Play and Learn

The L4 Play and Learn class was a good mixture of sit-down activities such as singing with action and motor activities like going through an obstacle course.  The teacher used small songs that go with each activity, and the class was fast-paced to keep up with the kids’ short attention spans.  There are lots of toys used as props such as balls, shakers and rainmakers.  The class flowed seamlessly from one activity to another, because there were two teacher aides.  They took out all of the toys needed just at the right time and put them away again, cued the music, and just made sure that all the teacher would need to do is focus on the toddlers. My son had a good time in the class, and he definitely enjoyed the unlimited gymplay afterwards.

The staff at Gymboree Trinoma are always friendly, and my son, who can be very social when he wants to, definitely has a crush on his Teacher Nina.

KinderMusik Our Time

At KinderMusik, one thing that I noticed from the start was that the class grouping mas much wider compared to Gymboree.  My son had the option of enrolling in the baby class, which as called Village (for infants up to 1 1/2 years) or on the toddler class Our Time (for 1 1/2 to 3 years old) because his age happened to be the borderline for the two classes.  I had the good chance to talk with one of the program directors Teacher Suzette, and she said that since my kid was already a strong walker, we should try out the toddler class.  So we availed of a free trial class (they are very generous when it comes to trial classes–you can have as many as you want before deciding to enroll, according to Teacher Suzette) for Our Time taught by Teacher Christine at the Gingerbread House in Congressional Avenue, QC.

Unfortunately, my son did not really enjoy Kindermusik as much as he does Gymboree since Kindermusik was really more of a sit-down music class with periods on motor activities.  This is actually the opposite of Gymboree, which focuses more on being active with periods of singing time.  Although I could see that the Kindermusik does have good concepts like letting kids engage in imaginative play and storytelling, it was not for Ego who better enjoys climbing and walking up and down ramps.  Other kids who were older than Ego (2 years old) did enjoy though.  Needless to say, I won’t be enrolling Ego in any classes soon, but I do hope to try a Kindermusik class again in six months, when he turns two.  By that time, he might be more receptive to more quiet activities like acting out songs and listening to active storytelling.

This article was really more of how my own kid did on both Gymboree and Kindermusik.  If you are looking for more facts such as schedules, fees, etc so that you could see which one you would like read the continuation of this article: Gymboree vs Kindermusik Part 2