Potty Training time at 27 months

Writing this so I won’t forget! It has been almost 2 weeks of hits and misses and a whole lot of exhaustion!

Some say wait until they’re ready / show signs of readiness. Some say it will come. Some say when the parent is ready, they will be ready. Montessori studies show sensitivity to potty training at 15-18 months.

I was all for getting ready at 2 years old but also waiting it out until Greyson probably reaches 3. But by the time he reaches that age, we may be busier by then so I was committed to train him ASAP.

By the time he reached 2, I started buying undies and we started wearing them over diapers though not consistently. I also bought a book on using the potty which we read a lot until he didn’t want to read it anymore. 😹

Last week I asked Grey if he wanted diapers/briefs, he said briefs! Yay was this a sign? 😂

Then came a lot of “accidents!” After a week of experimenting 😆 I sought the help of mommy friends for tips and encouragement from my sister and read up.

Why do I always troubleshoot and learn through experience 🤦🏼‍♀️

Based on articles, you can potty train in 3 days. You just have to be diligent in observing your child and look for cues. Also call it a “miss” when they pee / do the other on the floor as they just missed the potty. It’s not their responsibility but ours as parents.

Some tips that worked for us are

1. Offer liquids often.

2. After 20 minutes, invite them to the potty and wait for them to pee. (I do ssh shh sounds to initiate 😂)

3. When todder looks like he’s about to poop (mine is being quiet and still / hiding) invite calmly to the toilet. (We use a toddler toilet seat to place on top of the regular one)

4. I usually urge him 😂 and do some sounds. Grey didn’t like sitting on the toilet and whenever I go out he would call me. I thought that he preferred pooping on his own but he wanted someone to be in the bathroom with him. 🤷‍♀️ I waited around 10-12 minutes and got him off the toilet. When he starts again, I put him on again and wait.

Some moms suggest reading a book / posting animal pictures / fun pictures on the walls to keep them entertained inside while waiting.

5. Repeat #1-4 until they get it. 😂

We are 2 days in and so far successful with Grey overcoming his “ilang” while sitting on the toilet and doing #2 there.

For peeing there are times of “missing” but I know he is getting the concept and the feeling of wet-ness. During nap times though and at night we still use diapers – this is going to be a different training or next level which I’m not ready for my sanity yet of cleaning a wet bed. 😹

In the first week I experienced lots of misses and had to wash soiled undies 🥴🥵 Sometimes I got upset while cleaning and was muttering under my breath. When I calmed down I apologized to Grey and told him it’s normal to have misses. It’s my fault I wasn’t watching. Took a lot of reframing and praying to be patient as we went through the day but here we are. Not quite there yet 😂 But moving forward with small wins!

In the 2nd week, fueled by encouragement and tips, cues were spotted and anticipated and also with Daddy J on board. This really takes dedication 😆 It seems so easy but training takes time and a lot of effort. How I wish I could say I’m enjoying this stage – this is probably my least favorite.

But whenever there’s a moment I can hear myself think, I search within how this season will pass so quickly. I remember how he looks down at the floor saying “weewee”. How he gets a mat and helps wipe his miss / the mess. His calling me when I slip out of the bathroom. His needing me to sit down with him by the potty. It will soon be past. Our baby who’s no longer a baby but will soon be a little boy.

Learning to unlearn

27 months in and I thought our routine would stay as is. But it seems as if Grey also got bored with it. MWF – Alphabets, shapes, numbers. T-THs – Mandarin numbers, colors and conversational phrases. Seemed promising… NOT. When you’re dealing with a toddler who’s so eager and absorbent you can’t confine them to just those!

There was a week wherein I would teach some numbers and he threw them all on the floor. Not just bored but upset as well! He saw through all of it and that I was feeding him some things he’s not really into yet.

After a few days of numbers, he was able to identify them but it was a struggle. I guess this is how it looks like if you’re not “following the child’s pace and learning” and trying to give him info he’s disinterested in!

So I was led to ease up and watch him play again and in his natural state.

You know how it’s so hard to unlearn things you grew up knowing? How most of us are wired to have the goal of doing good in academics as if that were the most important thing!

As a mom and with an only child whom we’ve waited for a while, I felt like I had a responsibility and duty to teach him and I can’t do it just watching him. I can’t stay still! I had to be super pro active and teach teach teach.

But Reading The Whole Brained Child and also desiring to be obedient to Christ, it is slowly sinking in that intellect is just one aspect. There is also emotional, spiritual. Character building. Learning to love learning.

Instead of getting praises for knowing his abc’s or numbers. We search and look beyond.

Values such as hardwork, resilience, thoughtfulness, patience, love, kindness, gratefulness. It’s hard to unlearn what we’ve learned but anything is possible with God.

And there is proactiveness too in being still, observing your child, and trusting in God that He will give us the wisdom on how to raise Grey.

After easing up a bit on his 27th month and focusing on his interests like playing with rice (for sensory), pouring water over and over, I saw how this was satisfying for him at this moment and how he can play for an hour or so.

Then after which he got a paper and crayon. He started drawing and naming what he’s drawing – A triangle, Circle ⭕️, letter G (for Greyson), P, H. t. Somewhere during playing, his mind was probably processing lots of information and he wanted to write it. I have to admit I was so proud! But I have to remind myself to also acknowledge and emphasize other character developments in him. Like how he’s generous, offering snacks and fruits he likes and even feeding us (thinking about others). How he apologizes when he loses his temper and gets gigil and hurts. How he rejoices with others and sees them having fun. His honesty! He would tell us, Greyson feel angry again.

Oh how do we unlearn what we’ve learned?

Jason taught me.. It’s not study time it’s what are we going to learn today?

In a seminar, it’s not reading it’s comprehending what you read.

It’s not being the best, it’s doing your best.

What are things that you want to unlearn and how can we reframe it?

*For routine, our mealtime, nap and sleep time stays as is. but activities… whatever Greyson seems interested in at the moment!

The golden opportunity with the golden calf

Last night, Greyson wanted me to read the Bible to him. We’ve read it to him a few times but it was just last night we lingered in the story of Moses. He pointed to the golden calf and said “What’s that?” I said “it’s a golden calf”. Then silence… his pointer finger tapping on the image of the golden calf… (Ganito talaga siya parang professor nag-aantay ng sagot habang pinapawisan ka ng malupit!)

I was thinking… how do I explain it to him? Is it an animal? Thing? What does it stand for? What’s the context of the story?

I was groping for words.. Pano ba i-explain sa 26 month old?? He just turned 2.

Me: ah…..it’s an idol. (but Greyson does not know an idol)

Try again: Ummm it’s an object that you worship (but Grey does not know what “worship” means yet)!!

I felt it was a golden opportunity to share what it was because he was so curious! I praise God because an idea popped in my mind. I praise God that He made it simple and clear to me that moment that Greyson can understand and relate to.

Calmly I said, the golden calf is like your toy… It does not have feelings, it cannot do anything. It is something that you love more than God.

In that story, Moses went up the mountain to talk to God (this is the story of the 10 commandments) but when he came down the people forgot about God. They made an object, a thing, a golden calf! After all that God did for them.. (we backtracked to the previous page)

God rescued them from the bad guys. God gave them food. God gave them water.

Greyson added: God give mountain

Me: Yes

Greyson: God give leaf

Me: Uh yes..

Greyson: God give trees

Me: Yes! And they forgot about God and loved the golden calf. That is called sin. When you love something like your toy more than God.

Do you understand?

Greyson said Yes.

I wonder if he really did but I believe that he did! Before he slept during our cuddle time I asked him who does Greyson love? He said Greyson love Mommy.

And then in between nursing, what he said next jolted me awake…

Greyson love golden calf.

Me: the golden calf??

Greyson shook his head while nursing and then he unlatched and said “Greyson love Jesus”.

Ahh baka “don’t love”. Greyson still does not know how to use “don’t.”

I tried again, “Greyson does not love the golden calf.” He nodded yes and he said again “Greyson love Jesus”.

Whew.. mabuti nang malinaw 😂 looks like he got the story.. Praise God. But I am not worried, I am confident God will give another opportunity in case he did not get it. God is reaching out to everyone every single moment, even as young as Grey.

While teaching this to him, pati ako nacoconvict. I also remember how God has been good, and is good. How he provided, loves and cares for us. He does not forget us or our needs but how easy it is for us to forget Him and His goodness to us.

How we love other things more than Him. How we prioritize other things – our work, our family, even ourselves, over Him who deserves all our love, attention and praise.

Thank you Lord for giving us Greyson to remind us of of our sinfulness and how we need Jesus. Thank you Jesus for nailing our past, present and future sins on the cross so that we can talk to God. How powerful you are Lord and how awesome you are that you can walk on the water, speak to the sea and stand in the fire beside us.

Praying that Greyson would learn to love God and follow Jesus when he grows up.

Quarantine FavorEats

Since ECQ last March, home bakers and new cooks were born! Filipinos are very resilient and however hard life can be, we cry a bit and then a little bit more and then stand back up again. It’s okay not to be okay! 😬 Anyway this is a different topic altogether but sharing with you the top quarantine eats we were able to have a bite of during the lockdown. While some came from well-loved restaurants, some have just discovered their passion in cooking or baking and a possible lifelong career!

1. Ube Cheese Pandesal

Who hasn’t heard of the famous Ube Cheese Pan de Sal?? From Philippines to USA, the recipe has been going around and been shared so many times! We were able to taste this thanks to my sister who sponsored us this treat 😂 All the way from USA she ordered this from In the Mood for Baking . Mas updated pa siya sa amin! 😂 Our foodie baby, Greyson was able to try this and he was so excited to pinch and pull out the cheese. He loves cheese and though there was a generous amount inside, he wanted another pan de sal. Save some for us! 😂

Another treat we were able to try from In the Mood for Baking was their Queso de Bola Ensaymada. I enjoyed this the most! It was almost covered in Queso de Bola cheese and it was really soft.

Prices:

Ube Cheese Pan de Sal – P320 / 16pcs

Queso de Bola Ensaymada – P510 / 6pcs, P950 1 dozen

*photos grabbed from In the Mood for Baking

2. Make your own kits! Paella Making Kit from Barcino

For our anniversary since we couldn’t have paella outside, we brought it inside! It was even better since we were in the comfort of our homes. We had their Paella Chorizo Y Pollo.

I felt like an expert! 😂 Secret of moms who want to serve the best restaurant-like dishes – get a make your own kit! This was good for 4 so it pretty much lasted us until dinner. Tipid! Also, it was very flavorful a little on the salty side but yummy nonetheless. Grey learned the word “paella” and his palate got exposed to how paella tastes like. Just a note that when you order this via Grab, it falls under GrabMart and it has to be transported via car.

3. Basque Burnt Cheesecake

In fairness ang updated ni hubby for someone who doesn’t open his social media unless it’s for work! He got to this before I did. Basque Burnt Cheesecake with a twist since it has brownies for the bottom layer. Masarap siya! It’s not too sweet and the cheese in the cheesecake was not overpowering! The brownie cake added texture to the cheesecake and the burnt top added flavor. It was the perfect balance.

Bea’s Cookies PH in Marikina

4. Belgian Cookies and Oatmeal cookies

From Bea’s Cookies Ph too! Thank you to my sister-in-law Ate Christie for introducing this to us. Suki na kami! This is baked / managed by a homeschooler. Galing diba? That’s what I like about homeschool even if we haven’t started yet! A twist to this is it had caramel bits too. In this pandemic sometimes we just need that classic choco chip cookie to feel a little better!

A new player in the sweets business is Cain’s! We had the chance to taste these healthy oatmeal cookies thanks to my MIL. It was chewy, not too sweet so there was no guilt when I reached in for another cookie. 😂 Oh this is best paired with coffee! Thank you Camille!

5. Baked Sushi

From Phbakedgoodies! By now it has evolved to having scallops, unagi, salmon, taco bake and then came caviar pie! It was our first time to try this top quarantine craze and it did not disappoint. Oh how sushi has evolved! This was so good and worth trying out!

Phbakedgoodies in IG

8×8 = 800

9×12 = 1375

6. Milky Cheese Donuts

Just look at that cheese oozing out! This is a winner! I couldn’t get my hands off this. Sweet, salty and powdery! Another one from Bea’s cookies ph.

7. Vikings for celebrations

*Photo grabbed from Vikings Luxury Buffet

This is pretty much how it looked like! Their 600/head was worth it because it didn’t lose its celebratory appeal plus it lasted us for 3 meals. Minimum order is 3,000 good for 5 pax! The next best thing if you miss celebrating your birthdays in Vikings, you still get to enjoy them at home and this time pwede na leftovers and takeout! For reheating later 🙂

What quarantine eats are your favorites? 🙂

Toddler Schedule

Routines give the child a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline. Heard of this sometime ago and since then I was convicted to develop a routine for Grey. But it seems as if his schedule is changing weekly and I needed to cope quickly!

I couldn’t imagine how moms could do night baths so calmly – pouring lukewarm water over their baby’s body and the babies showing how much they enjoy it, cooing and everything. I remember when Grey was an infant and at around 5pm he would get so fussy! Overtired? Hungry? Growth spurt? I would be close to tears so exhausted from lack of sleep and with a ravenous baby boy feeding almost every hour. Scrap the night bath!

But then I was also comforted with how friends encouraged that every child is different!

Jason and I would religiously track Grey’s schedule and write on our mirror to have some semblance of order in our lives. But by next month it would throw us off again. Ganito ata talaga!

Just this year, 2020. The schedule was a little bit more predictable. At around 18 months, he was transitioning from 2 naps to 1 nap. When he would have his daytime nap, I could still cook in peace for an hour. But when he was starting to have 1 nap, he had MORE waking hours!

What to do?? I don’t want him to watch that much TV – that’s just me. But also I needed him to be safe and preoccupied while I do some chores.

Since ECQ 2 months ago, we started developing a schedule as a guide on how we could fill our days. Usually in the afternoon we would go out and go to the mall or parks. But since we had to stay home, how can we still be intentional amidst all this chaos outside (and at times, inside)?

Are we going to homeschool? Probably! But even before any curriculum, I feel it would help for a transition period.

Every morning of MWF, this is where we would sing/dance/play. We have 3 playlists

1. Worship songs (3 songs) – Monday

2. Dance songs (4 songs) – Wednesday

3. Nursery Rhymes – Friday, and some piano lessons.

We also try to teach an alphabet per week and a memory verse.

These are not rigid! if he doesn’t feel up to it then we just play what he wants. If he likes animals then we go for that. letter C for Cat and Cow. Trying to link animals with the letter of the week.

Every Tues-Thurs, Jason teaches Art and some Mandarin.

Sample of our schedule

7am – breakfast

8am – sing / dance / art / mandarin / play

9am – tv and books , snack time

10am – chores / play with daddy

11am – lunch (yes our lunch got moved to 11 since he would be too fussy by 12)

11:30 – bath and a book after

12:00 – nap

2:00pm – free play, garden, blocks etc, snack

he does what we’re doing – work, exercise, clean, turn our house upside down 🏡

5:30pm – dinner

6:00pm – brush teeth, wash legs and feet

bedtime routine

diaper

pajamas

book

cuddling / bed play

recap of the day

pray

singing

7-7:30pm sleep

8pm – FREEDOM! 😂

I also learned from a mommy group about SIGHT WORDS.. Not really strict about it since I don’t want to force Grey to study particularly if he still doesn’t want to. I would just try and if he doesn’t show readiness i’ll try again next time as advised.

For every schedule I need to put the word and a drawing of what it is so he’ll get acquainted with the word. Not yet done with this project!

Whenever I wonder if I need to do something more? I go back to the Best advise I heard: Enjoy your child!

Not sure if we’re doing it right. Really a trial and error but just praying that spending time and being intentional with him would make an impact on his life.

Hoping this would help Greyson learn and enjoy learning! Again reminding myself we have 3 years for his absorbent mind.

Teaching Grey to identify letters

Jason and I love reading and we hope that Greyson would develop a love for reading too! Not just for any academic reasons but for fun and also to develop his imagination.

We are thankful that family and friends gifted us with these books.

Little did we know that it would lead him to learn to identify letters. We would find the animals and objects big and small. I feel

that from identifying objects to the smallest object in the book, he has learned to spot a letter. We started finding letter I from this book, since he started showing he can draw a line. I think that it would create a better connection from line to I to letter I,

Then from reading books over and over he started to identify letter O along with the circle shape, and just recently letter B at 22 months old.

I prefer a more structured approach like A,b,c. But he wasn’t responsive to this but with letter I and O he was. It really takes a lot of knowing your child and intentionality.

Some things that are working for us are

1. Reading the same simple board books with few words.

2. Pointing the words as I read

3. Having a poster of the alphabet (not sure if this is working though right now) but just exposing him to the letters often.

If this is what homeschool is all about I am enjoying this and I hope Greyson is too!

Traveling with a toddler to Osaka, Japan

Last year I wouldn’t dare think of traveling since I was too spent! But as Grey turned 1 year old, we do recover from the aches, lack of sleep and tiredness. Thank God for renewing our energy everyday to do the things we are tasked to do! Our adventurous side is starting to resurface and we decided to make the most of Grey’s first 3 years of life. Reading The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori, it was mentioned that the first 3 years are crucial to the development of the child and so are the succeeding 3 years. They absorb everything – language, syntax, science, math and how we relate to one another. Grey loves animals so much and we decided to take him to Osaka Japan where he can see deers in their natural state running free, as well as the Zoo and Aquarium.

Things we needed to prepare for:

  1. Itinerary – Some people would say make the most out of the trip and go to as much places and squeeze in as much into our planned itinerary. We played it by ear instead and planned a very flexible one considering priorities and our energy. We stayed for 5 days. Here’s our itinerary sample

The Plan                                            Actual Itinerary

Day 1 – Travel                                     Day 1 – Travel

Day 2 – Tennoji Zoo, Kuromon Market   Day 2 – Tennoji Zoo was closed, so we                                                                                  went to Namba walk (because my soles                                                                              got busted (parati nalang:)) ) and then                                                                                  Osaka Aquarium

Day 3 – Nara Deer Park, Todaiji, Kofukuji    Day 3 – Nara Deer Park, Yoshikien                                                                                       Garden,  Kofukuji Temple, Dotonbori

Day 4 – Osaka Aquarium, Kuromon Market       Day 4 – Tennoji Zoo, Shinsekai,                                                                                                  Dotonbori

Day 5 – Owl Cafe, Dotonbori, Travel to Manila   Day 5 – Nambanaka Park,                                                                                                      Kuromon Market, Travel to Manila

Review of the places in another entry. 🙂

2. List things to bring – I had an initial list and then added to it as the days went along :))

Sample of things we brought – For 5 days. We brought around 8 pants. 8 long sleeves. 2 jackets, mittens, and bonnet (which we rarely used since it wasn’t that cold), several socks. 2 shoes! What are the things you brought for your toddler?

We wanted to pack light as much as possible! We’re still getting a hang of it.

3. Pack medicines – We brought the following: Vitamin C, Allergy drops (Alnix), Calpol for fever, Koolfever, Relestal for possible stomachaches.

4. Brought carrier and a stroller – We used the carrier all throughout since Greyson didn’t want to sit in the stroller! He wanted to be close by since he was in an unfamiliar place.

5. Book train tickets in advance for hassle-free travel. We booked using Klook for our round trip train tickets from the airport to Namba.  Our ETA in Osaka is around 8:30PM and I presume we would be dead tired arriving in Japan so we spent a little bit more to book Nankai Express tickets to Namba. It would be around 30-35 minutes compared to just getting tickets there and would travel for 45 minutes but it would be cheaper though.

6. Bring a few lightweight toys – We brought a fidget board, Elmo (maybe 1/3 his size) and 2 books. All were a mistake :)) We should have brought some small animal toys and a small stuffed toy for the plane ride. We are conscious about Greyson and screen time so we had to bring some toys to distract him. Greyson kept removing and returning the magazines on the shelf in the plane instead so we didn’t have a need for the toys.

7. Snacks and Milk! – We are still breastfeeding so I brought myself. :)) I couldn’t stress more how this has been so convenient for us and saved us a lot (financially, physically!) We latched during takeoff and when we landed he didn’t want to latch so I guess he could take the ear pressure. We brought some snacks like biscuits and jello.

8. Extra clothes, tissue and wipes in his baby bag and diapers – For emergency! We also brought his bowl and a silicone bib just in case the restaurants didn’t provide. But some restaurants in Osaka do provide kiddie plates and spoon and fork.

9. Have fun and take lots of pictures! – Seeing Osaka again thru his eyes was amazing. The lights in Dotonbori, the big 3D displays. The huge Aquarium! His appetite was also so huge and he wasn’t scared to try new dishes. He wanted a bite of everything we put into our mouths! We took lots of pictures that captivated him and made sure to print them so he can keep them in his memory. 1 month has passed and he still remembers them and the gestures associated with the sights that hooked him.

It was really fun to bring Grey along and having him was like reliving your childhood and seeing it now in full color – more conscious and aware of the things around you.

We thank God for allowing us to experience this trip, sustaining us and allowing us to enjoy this trip. That all of us didn’t get sick and that it was relatively smooth. Hoping for more GreyT adventures with our little one and looking forward to discovering the world again thru his eyes one day at a time! <3

What to eat in Osaka and Kuromon Market

So here’s a rundown of what we ate in Osaka!

1. 551 Horai – Butaman

Upon arriving in Osaka particularly in Namba station we were famished! Good thing because 551 Horai was just nearby. It was Butaman or similar to siopao here in the Philippines. But the filling was really yum! The filling was so generous and it was so meaty and flavorful. We stuffed ourselves with 2 of each. :)) Greyson loved it so much too because the dough was soft and chewy.

 

 

 

2. Morozoff Custard – This was located along Namba walk. For those who have a sweet tooth, indulge in this! It had sugary syrup at the bottom to compliment the custard on top. 

3. Gyu Katsu – in Nara and Namba. We had Gyu-Katsu in Nara after interacting with the deers! :)) It was beef cutlets that was deep-fried. There was a certain way how to eat this and you may watch this in the You Tube version of our food finds.

 

4. Ice Cream – There are lots at the grocery and convenience stores! Be sure to try one! It was kind of a hit or miss though since I can’t read the labels. I had matcha with red beans. Haha not exactly I flavor I enjoyed. I honestly thought it was matcha and chocolate. :)) 

5. Kobe Beef – Dotonbori. We had kobe beef at Dotonbori and it was pretty expensive for this piece! I think around 800 YEN or roughly 350 pesos. Grabe diba? Hahah. We told ourselves the next time we go here we wouldn’t scrimp on our food trip. But really this was one of the expensive things to eat here and to be honest I enjoyed our last time better. We had Kobe beef in Kobe. If you really want to try Kobe, please go to Kobe instead! Much more worth it. 🙂

6. Kushi Katsu – in Shinsekai!  If you plan to go to Tennoji Zoo, have lunch in Shinsekai! They are famous for their Kushi-Katsu. We enjoyed the Shrimp here best.  

 

 

 

7. Shake Shack in Shinsaibashi – Not really Japanese food but worth a try especially with the long lines here in the Philippines! Grab a bite of these juicy burgers and crisp fries. As you can see, Greyson enjoyed the fries so much! No wonder people are lining up for this in Manila! In Osaka, there were no lines though and the customers were mostly Filipinos :))             

 

KUROMON ICHIBA MARKET

We were about to miss going here since we didn’t know if Greyson would permit :)) On our last day, he fell asleep while we were at Namba walk so we decided to go to Kuromon Market. Good thing because it was the highlight of our food trip! Also there was a passage in Namba walk so it was easy to get there by foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Fresh Oyster and Uni at Nishikawa Fish Store – Around 600 YEN. Super worth it!! We shared this. The Uni was super creamy and it was really fresh! We enjoyed the Oyster with a bit of hot sauce. We would want to have more but we didn’t want to stuff ourselves with this as we wanted to taste as much as we can in Kuromon Market.2. Fruits in Season – We had persimmon, strawberries and green melon. The persimmon here was really sweet and it wasn’t hard. It was crunchy to the bite. Green melon is also a favorite here so be sure to try one when you drop by! We saved a lot for Greyson since he loves fruits so much. We wanted him to taste as much fruits as we can offer him to enrich his palate.3. Tuna and Salmon Sashimi Donburi. This stall had the longest line in Kuromon Market and we don’t wonder why! It has the freshest tuna and salmon sashimi. It wasn’t that unique though as we had lots of this in Manila but no doubt here you’ll have the freshest.4. Torched and Grilled Grab meat and fat. It was so indulgent! But as long as you’re sharing it with someone it lessens the guilt. I couldn’t bear to it one whole shell of this. :))

5. Broiled Crab. Last but not the least! Shred it as if it were noodles and dip it in Crab Fat. Yum!!

Going back here to Osaka was so worth it. There was still so much to do and so much to eat and try. It really is a foodie’s paradise.

Check out our Food trip in Osaka video here. 🙂

What to do in Osaka, Japan with a toddler

Japan is one of the places that we enjoyed because of the culture and the people. So when Cebu Pacific had a promo for November we decided to visit again with Greyson! Last time we went here, we visited the tourist sites in Kyoto, Nara and they were mostly temples. This time around we explored kid-friendly places and there was still so much to see and so much to do!

Traveling with a toddler has its perks – it’s still free if your child sits on your lap, he’s still relatively manageable, plus it’s a great experience to teach new words what with his absorbent mind until 3 years. Of course we needed to brace ourselves for possible scenarios like how will he respond with the pressure in the plane, how will we entertain him during the flight, hopefully he wouldn’t catch a stomach bug, hopefully he wouldn’t get sick or us too that we would be unable to take care of him.

Grateful to God that the trip was really smooth and Greyson was such a trooper! He was easy to travel with as he didn’t make a fuss yay! He got bored on the plane but he didn’t cry. He entertained himself by playing with the magazines in front of us.

I think this was really the best time for us to travel as a family since we were finally recovered from the tiredness of last year =)) Also Greyson at 1 year 5 months by then was already showing his interests (like animals and tasting different foods – he is adventurous with his tastebuds and he’s starting to acquire a taste for spicy food) and it was easier for us to decide on the places to visit.

We stayed in Osaka for 5 days with 1.5 days allotted for transit. Here’s our itinerary in our 5 Day Trip.

Day 1 – Travel

Day 2 – Namba Walk, Osaka Aquarium, Passed by Tempozan Ferris Wheel along the way

Day 3 – Nara Deer Park, Yoshikien Garden, Kofukuji Temple (just because it’s on our way to the train station), Dotonbori at night

Day 4 – Tennoji Zoo, Shinsekai, Dotonbori

Day 5 – Nambanaka Park, Kuromon Market (mostly for us :)) to go on a date), Travel to Manila

Here’s a short review of the places we visited with our 1 year old.

  1. Osaka Aquarium – We visited on a weekday and there were lots of tourists and families and it’s not that crowded! I thought it would just be for kids, but we enjoyed this as well! It’s a place both parents and children will enjoy. The main attractions were the penguins (for us), dolphins, the shark, whale shark, and the last stop wherein you could touch the the shark and stingray. Please be mindful of course to wash your hands before touching them so any chemicals can be washed off. Some dolphins weren’t camera shy and they would get close to the glass of the aquarium. It was nice to see them cohabiting as animals that lived on land and in the water below were in the same aquarium. It was so awesome to see so many species in the sea. We wondered if we were really swimming with them instead of us looking in, it would be so scary to swim beside these giants and yet we would also be awestruck with them! There were a lot of species you wouldn’t see in Manila Ocean Park so it’s good to visit this place.

Some tips: For those carrying strollers, they don’t allow strollers in the escalators so you have an option to deposit it on the 3rd floor. Elevators were not that accessible so in order to use the escalator, you would need to fold your stroller. Eat snacks before going in since food and drinks are not allowed inside!

Direction from Namba subway: Take Midosuji line (red) to Hommachi Station. Take Chuo line (green) to Osakako station. Go down Osakako station and walk to the Aquarium. You will pass by Tempozan ferris wheel going there

Cost: 2,300 Yen for adults around 1K in PHP. toddlers are free (aged 3 and under)

Aquarium

2. Nara Deer Park – Deers in their natural state are here! They would be roaming the park some ready for photo op while some are quite shy. Last time we were here it was already dark so it was nice to see them in daylight. I wanted Grey to see the deers since he likes animals and I thought he would enjoy it here. Well initially he did, until I started feeding the deers some deer biscuits which you could buy in the stand for around 200 yen. When they started biting my pants and they were becoming aggressive I kind of panicked and turned around too fast. Grey who was leaning by my leg accidentally fell down and he started to cry. We were encircled by the deers and it was really overwhelming even for me! :)) Grey was okay but he got a little scared with what seemed initially like harmless creatures. :p They are actually until you feed them the biscuits.

Some tips: If you plan to hang around the area, you can buy some snacks as there are benches here you can sit on. Watch your tots run and play in this vast park. Kofukuji temple is nearby – you won’t miss the pagoda structure!

Eat where: Across Nara park, you will see a commercial space where Starbucks is. Try Gyu-Katsu (Deep Fried Breaded beef cutlet) more on this in another entry. There is also a convenience store for packed food and coffee shop here.

Direction from Namba subway: Ride kintetsu-nara line (yellow orange) going to Kintetsu-Nara station. Walk to Nara Deer Park

Cost: Free!

Nara

3. Yoshikien Garden in Nara – I don’t know about you but we wanted to visit the parks in Japan as there seem to be a few back at home. We decided to visit Yoshikien garden a few meters away from Nara Deer Park. Here you can see the traditional parks in Japan where there are lots of trees and with a stream flowing. It was a relatively small area and it was so peaceful. You can just really be one with nature here. I suppose if you visit when the leaves change, it would be so glorious to see!

Some tips: Free of charge for foreigners if you show your passport! Food and drinks are not allowed so be sure to fill up before!

Cost: Free! but if no passport it would cost around 200 YEN

Park

4. Dotonbori – Must visit if you’re going to Osaka! You wouldn’t leave Osaka without putting this in your itinerary. Greyson enjoyed the huge 3D displays of Kani Duraku, Octopus, Blowfish restaurant and what we call the Angry Man. :)) We went at night so the lights were especially bright and his eyes grew wide in amusement! We bought a Tako soft toy as a souvenir and Greyson liked it so much he would kiss it since it also had a puckered mouth :))

Some tips: This is a very popular tourist destination so if you plan to eat at the stalls, it’s going to burn a hole in your wallet! But what’s going to Osaka without going on a food trip? 🙂 We had some street food but we weren’t that filled so we ended up eating Takoyaki along the Dotonbori river and loaded on Taco Bell right after :))

Cost: Free!

Glico

5. Tennoji Zoo – This is going to get a lot bigger since when we went there, there was a part that was under construction and they are going to add more animals! Things that were new to us were the Chinese Gray wolf (Chinese Grey :)) ), the antelopes, rhinoceros and the hippo. There was a petting area wherein the kids can pet the sheep! Greyson was delighted to be able to see the sheep go Baa Baa as in like Baa baa black sheep! What I like about the design of the zoo was they were really trying to recreate their natural habitat. The giraffe and antelopes were sharing the same space as if they were in the wild. It may seem small to us adults but for a 1 year old, it was already huge. Greyson’s last animal to see was the flamingo then he drifted off. We weren’t able to see the reptile corner. This is a great place for our toddler to get acquainted with the many different animals! They also had penguins here so whether in hot or cold climate, our toddler can have exposure to various species in varying weathers.

Some tips: You can bring food here and have a picnic in shaded areas. Don’t feed the birds! I just saw this when we left. Greyson enjoyed chasing them around.

Cost: 500 Yen for adults, free for toddlers!

Tiger

6. Shinsekai – This is right across Tennoji Zoo so be sure to stop here to see the “old” Dotonbori. It really looked like Dotonbori with all the huge 3D displays and the restaurants were beside each other. If you are not iffy with your toddler eating fried food, you can all try their Kushi-katsu which is deep friend skewered veggies / meat. We also ordered Gyoza of course for Greyson. Shinsekai is famous for their Kushi-katsu so don’t leave this place without trying it here! Most restaurants offer this so it just boils down to your preference in dining – if you’d like a bigger dining place (which I think is best if you have kids).

Directions: Right across Tennoji Zoo exit!

Cost: Free to walk along Shinsekai! But for the food it’s around 1,000 – 1,500 Yen per pax.

Shinsekai2 Shinsekai

7. Nambanaka Park or any park! – Japan has lots of them and if you look in Google maps, you might be lucky to see one near you. We had one near our hotel which was Nambanaka Park. Greyson had the park all to himself! Of course we prefer if there were other kids that he can play with. There were also birds and insects that his daddy taught him about. It was fun to just run around and play. We really prefer that he is outdoors but there is a lack of it back home in the city so we end up in the mall and play areas. Here we got refreshed by nature and it was simply wonderful to enjoy the cool breeze, watch the birds, and stay under the shade of trees. Truly the best things in life are free.

Nambanaka nambanaka2

8. Eat at Namba walk – Most restaurants are kid friendly and would have a high chair. In the restaurant we ate, they automatically provide a bowl and spoon when they saw we had Greyson. Have omu rice and desserts here at Namba walk, there are lots!

Some tips: Pay when you exit near the door and as much as possible have as many cash. Card is rarely used when paying for food. Also it is practice to order one dish per person. Sharing is not practiced here, but for bringing babies and toddler, of course they can share with the adult.

Cost: Around 800-1,000 Yen per pax

Namba walk

9. Buy Fresh Fruits at Kuromon Market – There is a passage in Namba walk going to Kuromon Market, so Namba seems to really be the center as you would also land here from the airport. Anyway, buy seasonal fruits here for your toddler! We bought green melon, strawberries and persimmon for Grey!

Some tips: While you’re at it, try their sea urchin, crab, and sashimi! To be really filled and if you’d like to try lots, you would probably spend around 1,000 Yen – 1,500 Yen per pax. Will post in another entry our food finds in Kuromon Market!

Cost: Around 400-500 Yen for fruits.

There were lots of kid friendly activities in Osaka like a multi level play area but we didn’t go there yet since Greyson is still too small for it and we wouldn’t be able to maximize it. Other attractions that maybe your kids will enjoy are the pet cafes. They had an owl cafe along Dotonbori but we decided to forego it for now. What I like about Osaka was it’s kid-friendly. You can see many young moms in transit and in the trains with a kid or two. It isn’t that busy except of course when you go to Namba subway which seems to be the center of connecting trains. Hoping we would go back (within 5 years because that’s when our visa will expire:)) ) when Greyson gets a little bigger and he would see the angry man, kani duraku and the giant tako again!:)

Post below your other suggestions on where to take your toddler to Osaka! 🙂

First Time Mom Diaries: First year of motherhood

Started writing this when Greyson was 11 months old but got to finish when he’s about to turn 17 months (1 year and 5 months)

11 months in and I’m feeling sad my baby’s going to be a toddler soon but relieved we are over the newborn and getting to know stage. How time flies! He’s getting heavier by the week and it’s getting hard to keep up – both in carrying him and also his activities. As his birthday draws near we look back at the 11 months of his life and being new parents to the biggest, priceless blessing in our married life.

The first 3 months or what they call the FOURTH TRIMESTER: PURE CHAOS, and bliss, AND CHAOS.

It was living in the dark inside my room. Why was it dark? I do not know too! But we were creating an atmosphere for him to sleep longer as if he were in my womb. I couldn’t move much because of my leaking wound so I would often retire in the room and just sit for long hours. I felt Grey’s cry was so loud and hearing him cry inconsolably was stressing me out. I didn’t know if he was sleepy, hungry, or cold, or worse, sick. We were always always in a rush! To feed him. He would eat for an hour and wake up the next to eat. We were hoping to catch some sleep. Every time I would face him I would pray that God would give me more milk to feed him and after praying, I would feel peace. Despite the million things running in my mind, by God’s grace I am able to talk to Grey calmly and urge him that he can do it and that he should keep sucking to draw milk out. I am amazed at how God has created the human body and given us milk to supply to our babies.

The first few months was chaos but it was pure bliss as I remember him sleeping on my chest when I burp him or as Jason burps him. He was so small, so so thin and fragile. It was also so peaceful even as I drift off to sleep. It was the best feeling when both of us would sleep at the same time.

It was so chaotic when we went back to the pedia on his 4th week. I dreaded feeding him in public. My mind was a mess, I had a hard time thinking and even deciding what to bring, what to wear, what to do. My pre-pregnancy clothes don’t fit me yet so all the button downs are out of the question. I just bought 2 breastfeeding wear, I was so unprepared! Thankfully my mom bought a few that could get me by. It seems so trivial now but back then we were as confused and as lost as we could ever be! But thank God despite Grey’s cries his weight was growing steadily. Slowly but surely. I was so concerned that he looked super super thin and frail and I was kept questioning my milk supply. I was here and there! I was so anxious with his weight and would often compare him with other babies. They would say breastfed babies would often be lean but Greyson was soooo thin! It would worry us and we would often discuss if we should give him a top up of milk or just decide to mix feed him.

But all worry seemed to stop for a moment as it was pure bliss to see him SMILE for the first time sometime during the 6th week. In my confused state that time, I was honestly convinced he would feed on and on and on till he grows up. Crazy right?? So it was so new to me when around his 6th week he looked up at me, unlatched… and smiled! Then he would coo… Our hearts melted. We would talk to him and pause as if conversing with him. And he would coo. Oh what joy!! <3

By the 2nd month we were having cabin fever and we needed some fresh air – so we went out with Grey for leisure. Just a few minutes on his stroller and he was wailing! His outbursts are so loud it made me panic. We immediately packed up and rode the car so I could feed him privately. I dreaded feeding in public! Was this the way to cross cradle hold? I have no idea! I wondered if all babies cried like him, some moms would say they couldn’t stand the cries of their babies because it was too loud. But when I hear their babies cry it was just so little compared to Grey’s. The moment he cries it was so loud and high! It really made me panic and just want to stay at home until he grows up.

We tried different ways to transport him like the carrier and the stroller.  It was so confusing to use the various carriers lent to us no matter how much I tried watching youtube. I needed an actual demo. The Lillebaby worked best for me but he was still too small for it. Anyway, he would just cry in both carrier and stroller! Little did I know this was the season of letting him get used to it. There were times he would fall asleep in the carrier without me nursing him but then it would change again the next. We really needed a lot of patience and perseverance!

These were the months of teaching him tummy time to strengthen his neck! Tummy time can be done as early as 2 weeks old! He would often cry when we would turn him over. So we would pick him up again. Jason was in charge of the activities and he was so courageous in handling Grey even if he was so unsure about his daddy skills. He taught me how to hold the head properly so I could turn him over for tummy time. I didn’t have the time or energy to play with him because I was so spent just feeding him. My mom was also very helpful during these times as she would give Grey some sunlight in the morning as he had jaundice for almost 3 months! I am also thankful to my mom that it was so instinctive of her to care for Grey. It’s as if she’s been taking care of a newborn all this time! She also taught us that Grey has to have his “ME TIME” as she put him in the play mat / activity mat to look at the animals that dangled. When Grey could open his eyes longer nearing 3 months he would have his “me time”.

Websites like The Baby Sleep Site, WebMD, The Bump, and the app Wonder Weeks helped us to track developmental milestones and what Grey should be hitting every month. We would write this on our mirror. His height and weight and make a checklist if he hit his milestones. I discovered that when he would have longer waking times, he was following a schedule / a pattern. Eat, Wake Time, Sleep or it would often be known as E.A.S.Y. (Eat, Activity, Sleep. You – for me time)

Finally it looks as if we were getting the hang of it. Until the next month when this would all change again. 😛

4 – 6 months : More waking hours and personality coming out 

*More minutes awake and suddenly I do not know what to do during his waking hours! This was the time when I started to realize we do not have toys for his age that would keep him occupied and that we had to buy a few things.

*Tried sleep training for around 5 days, putting him down to sleep at 7PM and let him cry it out in his crib (just beside us) but it was so tiring and draining for us and I figured he still needs the extra feed at night since he looked so thin. We ended up with him sleeping beside me again.

*We heard some babies are already sleeping through the night (meaning 4-5 hours straight) or from 12 midnight-5am. But not with Greyson! I was still breastfeeding him every 2-3 hours but it wasn’t so bad because as soon as he latched, he would fall asleep and I would sleep as well.

*Sleep regression! was real. When we would get used to him sleeping longer now, he would suddenly wake up from 30 mins in his naps and wake up every 45 minutes at night. wahhh! Sleep when will you come to me??

*What we discovered: He was such a smiley baby! He was crying so much during the first 3 months but then by the 4th month he made up for all the crying with smiling and giggles. His personality is starting to show and we were so glad he was smiley it was pleasant taking care of him.

*We were also trying to let him sit with the tripod position wherein his hands would prop him up.

This was also the series of months wherein he was starting to get chubby cheeks and chubby legs and I was getting chubbier too! :)) I took the advice of my friend to eat lots of fatty food like a thick slab of butter on my toast, lots of oatmeal and cocoa with it. She said she lost weight anyway when the baby was 1 year old and somehow assured me I would lose weight by then too by caring for Greyson. Oh how I wish we were the same body type and had the same metabolism!!

This was also the first time Greyson developed a cold on his 4th month. It lasted about a week and a few days. I honestly thought that breastfeeding would prevent him from getting a cold but it’s not the case. It’s not the case too that he would heal faster. It was something all babies had to go through what with all the virus around, they need to be immune from the various strains. I remember it being tough since I had to sleep sitting down yet again while feeding him since his head needs to be elevated. But nevertheless we survived his first cold and his body could only get tougher!

7-9 months – The beginning of fun and messy feeding times. ALSO his waking hours just got real.

I decided to feed him his first solids on his 7th month and his first was squash with breastmilk. In my other blog entry, I recalled how difficult it was for me to collect milk. I could barely pump even if I tried manual and electric. It was normal to collect about 1.5-2 oz after every feed but I had barely since Greyson would often feed on and on. I had to hand express every time I fed him solids and I would collect another measly amount of milk.

He enjoyed his first solids and he seemed to want more! Our pedia advised 1 tsp a day was enough, and then it became 1 tsp per meal and soon we were increasing it to 2 tsps. I remember steaming them along with rice and storing them in little cube containers that resembled an ice cube tray.

These were the months he was becoming more interactive and was already showing his personality. Greyson can get easily frustrated since he would know what he want and he couldn’t communicate it.

On his 9th month, the water crisis struck us and it was such a challenging time since we live on the 3rd floor and water supply was low to none. It was so tiring caring for him, trying to stick to his routine and running the home. But I thank God for sustaining me with super energy to accomplish the things that need to be done! These were the months I started to get back up and cook at home. I started regaining energy to work at home.

Every month we would research about the developmental milestones and this would be our goal to help him reach this. At the end of his 9th month nearing his 10th, he started to stand up with support! We were thrilled but at the same time, I feel his baby-ness slipping through my fingers.

Around these months he uttered his first word “Mama” and I was floating! I loved hearing it over and over again. I have been waiting for this moment.

This was also the first few months he did his first hand signal which was to wave bye! It was so funny and he has been using it to call things too. He has been doing lots of funny things like wiping the table and sleeping. He learned his first chore probably because he can see us around the house wiping and sweeping.

10-12 months – Eating table food and walking a few steps

On his 10th month, our pedia gave the go signal for Greyson to eat table food! Of course we need to avoid salt at all costs. But when we go out to eat, I just had to choose what seemed safe enough for him. He was so fond of eating and I was so glad he wasn’t a picky eater (just yet!)

*These were also the months we intentionally taught him hand signals so if ever he needed to  communicate something, he could gesture. He wouldn’t gesture back until probably his 12th month, wherein he would gesture “more”. He signaled More because he wanted more rambutan! He is such a foodie!

After he turned 11 months, while I was on the phone and he was leaning towards my legs, he got so bored, he took his first few steps going to his play fence! I almost dropped the call to catch him on video =))

Milestones happen so swiftly!! I am so thankful to God for providing for us and to Jason that he gave me that option to stay at home for the meantime to be a full time mom to Greyson. It was so wonderful to witness his every milestone, to know what all his little sounds and gestures meant and to be able to interpret them. Sure it wasn’t everything and there were times I would feel crazy at home because time seemed to pass so slowly and yet so fast at the same time. It was like watching TV in black and white and everything was in analog. After the busy-ness and excitement of life and work, suddenly it would all be in slow motion. It takes a lot to be intentional and observe Greyson to be able to train him in the way he should go. But God is giving me the grace to endure and be joyful about what seems to be mundane things to me but exciting times for Grey. I thank God for giving me fresh eyes to see from Grey’s perspective – to see things anew, to just be amazed at this tiny little being He has given us for us to love and care for. True that some things can wait and all the things I used to do are put on hold. But seeing the joy in Grey’s face, watching him grow and all his antics, I wouldn’t trade being a mom to Grey for anything. <3