My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

May 18, 2016
by mymommyology

The Year of First Communion

Second grade is the year of First Communion.  In Manila, it would’ve been a no brainer with Sam in my alma mater Catholic school.  Here, because we send her to a non-secular public school, the choice was more deliberate.

Living outside of Manila has made one religious lesson in my senior year in high school stand out.  Our professor drilled it into our heads that religion is both individual and communal, and that it is inclusive of other religions as well.  I’ve not felt this to be more true than when I see the different cultures and religions (or non-religions) that surround my girls on a daily basis.

We are lucky to have such a wonderfully diverse community and be surrounded by friends and families with varying backgrounds.  It’s a great learning experience and it teaches us all to be open and understanding of each one’s beliefs and upbringing.

I realized that growing up in a Catholic environment makes you take religion for granted.  Living in a predominantly Catholic country, going to Catholic schools all my life, and being surrounded by people who live and breathe the Catholic faith is a very different environment than what Sam and Jamie have.  I was born into this faith and for a majority of my life I knew of nothing else around it.  But my children do.

Now, there are a lot of options for them; and what I knew to be black and white for me can potentially be a huge grey area for them.  And because of this I strongly feel that my girls need a solid Catholic faith foundation; so they can navigate through it all later on.  But the challenge was doing it outside our predominantly catholic bubble.

As part of their faith formation and in preparation for First Holy Communion, Sam had to attend religious education classes (as part of her after school activities) in our church once a week for two years.  And up until the beginning of this year’s faith formation classes, we’d been very lax about taking them to church regularly.  I didn’t want them to burn out so quickly, as church can get long and boring for young kids especially if they don’t see the relevance, so I didn’t want to force it on them just yet.

I liked the huge parent involvement at the onset.  I was worried about not having the classes more regularly like we did back home when we were younger; but the Religious Coordinator made it clear:  the biggest responsibility for faith formation is still with the parents.  How we reinforced this at home (if at all), would make all the difference.

The church helped a lot.  As part of their preparation they called all the first communicants to a set of masses where they were introduced to the congregation.  The priest had the children promise to come to mass every Sunday, to attend mass on Holy Days of Obligation, to go to the Religious Ed classes every week, and to recite their prayers at home.  Naturally, when Sam said “I promise”, she insisted on following it through.  I can honestly say because of Sam, I’ve seen the inside of our church far more frequently since I’ve had kids.

Early on this year, the children were required to attend a parent-child retreat.  Sam had been on a recollection-retreat before but our school never had the parents participate until the end, so this was a nice welcome surprise.  And it turned out to be very worthwhile too.

Left: Beautiful background mural of the sacraments.   Right:  We learned about St Tarcisius, the patron saint for all First Communicants.

Left: Beautiful background mural of the sacraments.
Right: We learned about St Tarcisius, the patron saint for all First Communicants.

We got some good Mom-Sam quality time together, with conversations that did not revolve around our schedules or other mundane things.  There was quite the serene, but fun, atmosphere to it being in a convent around nuns.

It was a half-day session and very nicely done.  The topics, lectures and activities were appropriate for the kids, and they had time to expend some energy too in their courtyard with bubbles, toys and other physical activity.  At one point, they pulled the children for a craft and spoke to the parents about our role in this whole process.  I have to admit it was a very very refreshing experience.

At this retreat, I also discovered, and then subsequently subscribed to MagnifiKids, a missalette subscription for kids.  It has the entire mass, readings, responses and all for that particular Sunday, in a kid-friendly format.

My new discovery.  Love it!

My new discovery. Love it!

Sam brings it with her to church every week, and during the priest’s homily, she reads the other parts of the magazine and does the activities.  It has everything from a history lesson, to word meanings and context, to crossword puzzles.  And best of all, it keeps the girls quiet yet appropriately entertained.

Samples of what's inside our Magnifikids missalettes.

Samples of what’s inside our MagnifiKids missalettes.

This whole process also reminded me that before Sam could get First Communion, she had to go and get the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

During our parent briefing, the Religious Education Coordinator was encouraging us to set the example for the children and go to confession before them.  I initially scoffed at the idea, but come Reconciliation day, I was actually afraid!  (Okay, laugh if you must.)

It’s been ages since my last (official) confession, and God knows my sins all too well.  Thankfully Sam didn’t ask me to go before her, so I sat, reflected and prayed as I watched her from the sidelines walk up to the Priest, excited to “confess” and subsequently perform her penance.

Of course I snuck in a photo for keepsake purposes.

Of course I snuck in a photo for keepsake purposes.

The children were told that they didn’t need to tell the parents what they said to the priest, and we parents were instructed not to pry.

Finally, it was time for First Communion.  Maga arrived for this important milestone.  She brought with her Sam’s (and eventually Jamie’s) Ines Moda Infantil dress, the perfect gift from Ninang Kris (we love useful gifts).

We loved that Maga was here!

We loved that Maga was here!

Instead of our traditional stampitas, Sam and her classmates made banners that were used to decorate the church.

Trust Sam to have a rainbow in everything. ;)

Trust Sam to have a rainbow in everything. ;)

I was quite the ball of emotions, which was the excuse I used to sign Sam up for all the possible First Communion photos we could get.  Yes, I am that sentimental mother.

The mass was very simple, and in a language and pace that the kids could understand.  It ended with the children singing a song they prepared, and that was it.  Short, simple but very meaningful.

I don’t remember being excited for my first communion (I was pretty sick I think), but you could clearly see Sam was.  It seemed like the weekly sessions for the last two years had adequately prepared her for this date.  Considering the fears I had coming into it all, I left that last session fairly impressed and very very thankful.

That smile!

That smile!

Every week since, Sam has asked to receive her second communion, and third and fourth (and so on).   I pray she doesn’t lose that eagerness, and remembers the reason why we hear mass and take communion in the first place.

I have faint memories of my first communion.  Even the preparation that went into it is a distant memory.  Thankfully I took the coordinator’s advice and stayed involved.  I re-lived it all vicariously through Sam, and what great timing too.    And again, I’m amazed at how something I’ve done routinely for years and perhaps, have taken for granted, was brought back fresh and new through the innocent eyes of my child. 🙂

May 12, 2016
by mymommyology

Why We Love Lego: Let Me Count the Ways

My kids have too many toys.

At least that’s how I feel when I walk around the house everyday trying to tidy it up.  I should say we are lucky — they are lucky — to be showered with so many things and gifts from relatives family and friends for birthdays and other special occasions.

As such, my husband (well, when the kids don’t bat their lashes at him and give him the puss-in-boots face to make him cave) and I agree we will stop buying our girls toys.  Maybe, on occasion, with the exception of Lego. 😉

Ole Kirk Kristiansen struck gold when he founded and created this company way back when (okay, their history says 1932).  I can’t imagine any child who wouldn’t at least have one set of Lego’s in his or her home, given as a gift, or purchased by a parent.  And why not when it can contribute so much to the development of a child too.

A majority of our home contains Lego bricks of all shapes and sizes.  The girls have been playing with them since they knew not to eat them.  It’s the one thing I allow them to buy when Daddy is feeling generous (or when he falls into their trap).



Here are some of the reasons why my household loves Lego:

Lego builds creativity.  My girls can go on for hours with their stack of bricks just building and figuring out how things come together.  We’ve gone from the easy-to-hold big Lego Duplo blocks to the smaller pieces for older children.  Through the years, Lego has come to own the words creativity and imagination, at least in my book.

I still remember my Lego set with the MAERSK trucks.  It never occurred to me that those trucks were real until I saw them on the road as a grown-up.  And it brought back those childhood days on the floor when I’d try to create little stories about where my trucks were going.  I wonder if my girls will have the same experience when they’re older, and maybe see the Lego Hotel in real life.

It’s also fun to see how Lego sets have no boundaries.  My girls mix up the princesses’ bodies, and have them meet the Marvel characters.  I’ll find the Star Wars characters staying at the Friends’ hotel every now and then.  Their make believe world just doesn’t end.

Lego develops their fine motor skills.  Putting small pieces together is not an easy thing (taking them apart is harder too)!  I like the fact that manipulating the pieces requires some development in the fine motor skills,  which is sometimes taken for granted.

Based on Jamie’s Mindprint scans, fine motor development is something that we need to work on with her, and it is much easier to do when she’s having fun building Legos.

Lego teaches them to follow instructions.  The instruction book that comes with each set is nothing short of amazing.  There is so much attention to detail, all the child has to do is follow.  And often times we don’t realize what a challenge that can be with raising children.

This is also one of Jamie’s stronger learning methods, when she is shown a pattern she has to copy.  I let her go at it on her own and I just watch it come together flawlessly.  She knows exactly which pack to open and what pieces go where.

Jamie working on a part of the Lego Hotel, on her own.

Jamie working on a part of the Lego Hotel, on her own.

It gives her that much needed sense of accomplishment when she’s done.  Lego has put a suggested age range on their packs, but that doesn’t matter to Jamie.  Five-year old Jamie can sit and do a project for 8-yr old kids and that adds to her self-pride.

Lego builds patience.  It’s one of the traits Sam needs to develop.  While Sam has a huge amount of focus, she is often very impatient.  She loves choosing big and challenging Lego projects but they test every bone in her body and every connection in her brain.  It’s nice to see her determination win over, and little by little she puts it together and sees it through.

The completion of the Marvel Quinjet (and some other parts).

The completion of the Marvel Quinjet (and some other parts).

Lego stays current.  The licensing they’ve done with Disney and some of the more current movies was quite the genius move.  The girls love the boxed sets from Star Wars, Disney Princess, or Marvel, and have built a collection of them over time.  I only wish they would bring back their Harry Potter sets.  Then Sam would truly be in Lego Heaven.

Can you guess what Sam is into now?

Can you guess what Sam is building now?

Lego has also built its own sub-brands of Friends, Chima, Ninjago and most recently they’ve added the Elves series.  Each one is so different, it just blows their minds and of course, they want it all.

The newest group in the Lego sub-brand, Elves.

The newest group in the Lego sub-brand, Elves.

Lego is a complete experience.  When you live in California, you can find time to drive to Legoland.

It's a hop, skip and a boat ride away!

It’s a hop, skip and a boat ride away!

And Legoland just brings the experience all together.  Not to mention the fact that they have extended their own brands to other media beyond the blocks and beyond the park, like books, apps and even cartoons.  They have a water park too that we have yet to visit this summer.

The girls can't wait to go and try the Chima Waterpark!

The girls can’t wait to go and try the Chima Waterpark!

Clearly, they’re doing some things right.  It’s fun and educational, and as a gift, never disappoints (Just watch out and don’t step on them.  They hurt like crazy!). 

I’d have to say, when it comes to Lego, we can never have enough. 🙂

Does your child like playing with Lego?  I’d love to hear why (or why not)!


March 15, 2016
by mymommyology

My Mommyology Discovers: Storymakery

During a trip to the mall last fall, I saw an area boarded up with this logo on it:

The logo that started it all.

Photo credit:  Storymakery

As its name implies, Storymakery is a children’s creative writing and publishing shop, located in Spectrum Mall in Irvine.  They have actual creative writers in the store to help kids make a character, develop a plot, write out the story and publish it right then and there.  The work with the kids of varying ages too, and have various packages depending on the level of involvement the child can handle.

It’s amazing!  The creative writer in me was awakened and secretly thrilled.

I knew my girls would love it, and so when Storymakery opened its doors I signed them up for a Snowman workshop last winter.

Their store is very pretty too.  It’s spacious, and it looks very conducive for creativity and imagination.  I love places that are well thought-through.

At the workshop, the girls were immediately treated to some holiday snacks and hot chocolate.  After, they were first led to the Character Studio.  They were allowed to create their main character for their upcoming story.  In this case, they had to work with a snowman.

Creativity starts here!

Creativity starts here!

They did everything from the name to the color, and the writers were guiding them to help them describe what they were like and where they lived — all important parts of a good set-up!

Then they led to another station called “Writing”.  The girls had to come up with an antagonist, and a way to map out the story by answering questions the writers had prepared.  If your child is old enough, they can type their own answers, but in the interest of time (particularly with Jamie), the writers do it for them.

Love the icons on ceiling and wall.

Love the icons on ceiling and wall.

In the middle of the shop are these writing trees, which hold nuggets and thought starters, that kids can pick out and use to build their own story.  Pretty neat!

Trees for thought?

Trees for thought?

After that, the girls go into Publishing where they make the scenery and create a few more photos to complete their story, and they lay-out.

Sam waiting for her published work.

Sam waiting for her published work.

Then the writers take it to the back where it actually gets printed.  In a few minutes, they have their very own published written work in their hands.

The workshop also included a poster of their main character (as you would in a movie or a new book release).

Young Authors!

Proud of our young authors! (and they’re proud of themselves!)

In the shop they offered differently paraphernalia where the main character could be printed out and given as gifts.

My girls were so proud of themselves.  I can’t tell you how many times they read and re-read their stories, and showed it to other people, and they were over the moon when people called them Authors.  They felt like such distinguished folk, it was absolutely adorable.

The Storymakery experience is something one can take home too, if you sign up for their annual membership.  The family gets access to all the characters they created online, and can actually make more.  Kids can go in and make characters and stories themselves, and simply walk into the store to get it printed.

I dare say, it’s also helped Sam with her homework.  When they were asked to write a story with a beginning, middle and end for school, Sam knew how to lay it out, with the lesson in the end.  Jamie’s story-telling skills have also started to take shape with its own beginning middle and end.  So it is quite the tool for imagination, creativity and cognitive development all in one!

One of Sam and Jamie’s friends had their birthday party there too and the people in the store took care of everyone.  It was a great place for the grown ups to kick back and relax, get a haircut or a cup of coffee. 😉  Plus, the kids learned about collaborating on a story, and each one got to take home a book they all wrote together.  It’s amazing how they were able to fit everyone’s ideas in there so seamlessly.

And if that weren’t enough, the owner of Storymakery is a Girl Scout parent and troop leader, and  she also does activities and creative writing for troops to help them fulfill their badges.  Our troop has looked into working with them on a Journey, and I don’t know who is more excited to go back, the girls… or me! 😉

If you want to check out Storymakery, they’re on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram): @Storymakery.  Or visit their website!



February 9, 2016
by mymommyology

The Road to 2500 (Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies)

It’s Girl Scout Cookie season once again and our first year with Girl Scouts has come full circle.

I cannot begin to tell you enough how much Sam loves Girl Scouts.  She says it’s because she gets to do so many fun things and learn.  And it is true — our troop is quite the active one with a ton of activities on a regular basis.  She has most of the patches and badges to show for it too.

These are just some of the ones at the back...

These are just some of the ones at the back…

I’ve to admit:  never in my wildest dreams would I have thought to go camping and sleep in a tent — but thanks to Sam, we now have that experience under our belt.

Throwback to that weekend. Yeeesh.

Throwback to that weekend. Yeeesh.

She claims it is one of her most favorite activities thus far, and would love to do it again (eeeep).

Her other favorite thing to do is sell.  Be it Fall Product (nuts, chocolates or magazine subscriptions) or cookies, selling “a lot” motivates her.  Everyone tells me she has a knack for it (it’s true — her Mindprint results show a high score on interpersonal intelligence.)  And when I ask her why she wants to sell “a lot”, she says it’s because she gets to do more fun things.  That is after all the essence of the program.

A portion of the girl’s sale is given to the troop to fund the supplies and activities the girls decide to do.  It’s everything from community service to just plain fun.  On top of that, each girl gets a personal incentive depending on the volume they individually produce.  The prizes are cumulative, so the more she sells the more she gets, be it a fancy item or Girl Scout cash (aka OC Bucks or Cookie Dough), used towards items or activities offered in the program (such as camping!  You get where this is going) Sam gets to pick every prize at every level.

After last year’s attempt at cookie selling, Sam was able to earn enough Cookie Dough to buy her Brownie uniform and a little stuffed toy for Jamie.   Last Fall, Sam opted for most of the cookie dough incentive, and the top prize:  Tickets for 2 to see Frozen Disney on Ice.

My husband has said time and again that if we really wanted to see the show, then we could just buy the tickets (Of course, him being the ever thrifty, practical gift-giver, we probably wouldn’t have watched it out of our own pockets!).  Even at a lower goal, she would’ve learned what she needed to learn anyway.

I don’t disagree, but I also see the value of her earning her way to what she wants.  Girl Scouts is girl-led, so she makes the decisions herself.  It’s usually a question to the parents as to whether or not we are willing to support that goal.  Sam has the advantage of having her mother as a 2 on the Enneagram, so really — HOW could I say no?!

With a lot of hard work and support from friends and family all over the world, Sam got her Disney Frozen on Ice (we bought Jamie a ticket).

Frozen on Ice isn't complete without Jamie!

Frozen on Ice isn’t complete without Jamie!

She also got the added bonus of being recognized as the Service Unit’s top seller for Fall Product 2015.

The nice surprise (or added bonus).

The nice surprise (or added bonus).

Fast forward to Cookie Season 2016.

Our troop leader asked the girls for their goals and Sam put hers down:  2500 Boxes of Cookies.  Why?  Because the Council was going to give the girls and a parent a VIP experience at Disneyland.

Maybe it's because we didn't renew our passes?

Maybe it’s because we didn’t renew our passes?

I freaked out (silently of course)How on earth were we going to do 2500 boxes of cookies?!  A girl we knew said they did it with 42 booth sales (selling outside supermarkets, each shift lasting 2 hours).  42?! There’s no way I would stand outside a grocery store for 84 hours doing that!

After the meeting I had a chat with Sam.  I wanted to see if she really understood what it entailed to sell that many cookies. I tried to talk her down to 1000, with still a decent prize of watching Cinderella.  She sold over 800 last year, so it seemed doable with a reasonable amount of booth sales.

“Don’t you just want to try for 1000 first Sam?”  I said very calmly.

“But mom.  That’s YOUR goal,” she said.  “2500 is my real goal and this is my cookie business, right?”

Was my mouth hanging open?  I don’t remember.

“Sam, I want to know — what happens if you don’t make 2500?  It’s just quite a big amount.”  My fear was that she’d fall apart if she didn’t reach it and it would hurt her self-esteem.

She was silent in thought and then eventually responded, “It’s okay.  Then we’ll try again next year,” she said with quiet confidence.  So matter-of-fact this child.  “But mom… we WILL try, right?  We’ll really REALLY try?!”

Everyday I preach about how doing their best (and knowing they’ve put their best effort into it) matters more than high scores or the perfection of their activities, because I believed that would come naturally if you gave it your all.  And here it was, echoed back at me in a perfect example.  Nothing could’ve been clearer.

It was a good wake-up call for me to see that our biggest hurdle wasn’t that she couldn’t do it, but that I was afraid to try.  And like I told my husband, this wasn’t about us.  Because of her age, she definitely needs our help.  It would have to be our goal too.

I’ve been told it’s a good problem to have a highly determined, self-motivated child who knows what she wants.  And so here we find ourselves in the midst of selling 2500 boxes of cookies.

Sam openly and fearlessly declares her goal to everyone.  Mostly they give her praise and wish her luck, and then they look at me with wide-eyes, as if to say, “you’re crazy!”.  Some have verbalized it and some have alternatively said “you’re an amazing mom,”  — which I think is a kinder version of what’s in their heads.

I smile and shrug it off, because when I look at Sam, other people’s opinions don’t faze her one bit.  And because she is so “brave”, she’s gotten many “cookie angels” that have gone out of their way to help her succeed.  It’s completely heart-warming.

We’re out everyday knocking on doors and asking everyone we know.

Rain or shine, we're out there!

Rain or shine, we’re out there!

People have said no and Sam takes it in stride.  We’ve gotten doors slammed in our face too, but she just moves on to the next door.  She’s even asked our servers at restaurants and people we meet crossing the street.  “Hi, do you want some girl scout cookies?  We have them in the car.”  And so make it a point to always carry Girl Scout cookies with me everywhere I go.

She has Jamie selling to her friends and teachers at school, because Jamie wants to help Ate reach her goal (also, Sam promised her a prize if she did).

Jamie bringing in homework... and an order for Thin Mints.

Jamie bringing in homework… and an order for Thin Mints.

Sam’s responses amaze me.

At the ballet studio during idle time someone said, “I’d love to but I didn’t bring cash“.

Sam replied, “Well, we’re here again next week.  Would you like me to bring you a box then so you could have your cash?”  She took note of their cookie choice and waited for them to come back that very next week.

Some have said they’re not ready to buy yet, and her response was, “That’s okay.  Maybe when you’re ready to buy you’d like to get a box from me?” 

I wonder where she learned it because I don’t recall teaching her that.

At Celebrate Leadership, a Girl Scout fundraiser, Sam was paired with the CEO of a large marketing firm.  Sam had gotten a purchase commitment from her, and when we went to the office to deliver the cookies, the CEO took Sam around to meet people and asked them to listen to her sales pitch.  All I had to do was watch (and make sure we took down the right orders). 

Usually a 7yr old would be shy. Sam was not.

Usually a 7yr old would be shy and timid in an office full of people she’d never met before. Sam was neither.

I learn so much from my own daughter.  Her independence, her drive, her patience and perseverance… the way she handles everything just leaves me in genuine awe.  She’s grateful for every opportunity regardless of the outcome.  And she constantly monitors her progress so she knows how much further she needs to go.  She is trying with all her heart.

My own heart bursts when I see her do what she does.  And I am extremely grateful at all the love, support and generosity people have shown towards her.  It takes a village to raise my Sam!

With two and a half weeks done, I still worry we won’t make it.  Sam chips away at the numbers slowly but surely, and has made cookie selling a part of her daily routine.  On Friday, the booth sales start and hopefully it’s the boost we need before the season ends on March 6.

It seemed like she knew what was going on in my head because one night as we were going over the numbers and checking how much more she needed to sell on average, she said reassuringly, “It’s ok Mom, I know we can do it.  I just have to believe in myself.” 

We believe in you too my love!

We believe in you too my love!


Does anyone want some Girl Scout Cookies? 🙂

January 21, 2016
by mymommyology

Change, Conflict and the Emotionally-Charged Child

I owe this post to DIY Corporate Mom, who has given me so much more insight into our little Doves!  THANK YOU Trina!

The weeks after the holidays was quite stressful for Jamie.  For the first time, she screamed, cried and tried to reach for me when I brought her back to school.   She cried for a long time according to her teacher and was tearful every day after that.  And to think, this is a school I know she loves.  Yet here she is, giving me a hard time about waking up and going there, and there were many, many tears.  What happened?!

My confusion increased as she was doing it at gymnastics too — an after-school activity she insisted upon.  It was crazy, because Jamie loves gymnastics, and she’s good at it too.  Before the holidays, she couldn’t wait to let go of my hand when her class was called.  Then suddenly, she wouldn’t just let go of my hand.  She’d even cling to my leg and the tears would start.

The days when every little thing set her off.

All she wanted (all the time) — was Mama.

There were tears from her — and from me! The baffled parent that I was, was again filled with self-doubt.

I tried every gentle tactic I knew of.  I was supportive and present, waiting, watching and smiling.  I tried to prep her before class and talk about the things she would look forward to at school.  I told her to just finish this commitment and we’d be done, but all would just result in more tears.

I asked her if something was wrong, and she would say no.  She just didn’t want to be away from me.  Her teachers assured me she was fine in school once the tears stopped, and at pick up she has nothing but smiles and fun stories to tell about her day.  It was the same at gymnastics; once she got past the five minutes of tears, she was back to her bouncy self.

A few days ago, it got so bad that Jamie didn’t want to leave the house.  She insisted she wasn’t feeling well (she did have a cough and cold), and she asked to stay home with me.   I’d never been allowed to do that in my time (and her cough or cold wasn’t bad at all!), but I was at my wits’ end.  I was on the verge of removing her from all activities and school  (to get a slot in a Montessori school anywhere in our neighborhood means you get on a one-year wait list, so it was a big decision!), but I took a breath, had some wine... and agreed she could stay home just for today.

All day Jamie followed me around and helped with chores.

In her princess outfit no less.

Laundry and lunch:  in her princess outfit no less.

We read books and played games and got quality time together.

She was again becoming her quirky little self instead of the ultra-sensitive timid and clingy version I had seen over the last few weeks.  It also helped that I crowdsourced amongst my mom peers and I spoke at length multiple times with all her teachers.  I re-read a blog post I wrote in my attempt to decode Jamie.  And it was timely that Trina wrote about how she follows her little Dove (It’s worth the read!) — a fond term we use for our daughters.  Because we both got MindPrint Innate Intellect scans for our girls (I tell you – MindPrint is worth every penny!  I refer to those scans regularly and they’ve helped me understand my girls), we “speak” the same language.  And here’s what it came down to.

The Efficient Personality Profile, also known as the Dove.

The Efficient Personality Profile, also known as the Dove.

Just as it is the nature of a Dove,  she (we – I’m a Dove too!) has trouble with change.  And really, we’ve had a lot of that in the last few months, with the move to the new house, the Christmas guests and all.  It’s just been a constant overwhelming change.

Also, Doves are conflict and risk-averse.   They’re peaceful by nature.  Now over the holidays, Jamie was bullied everyday for two weeks, sometimes two or three times a day.  We tried to explain to her that he was younger, and he probably didn’t know better (But his parents did!  Arg!), and that she was strong and brave.  I understand now that it had a latent effect on her and somehow made her uncertain, scared and timid.  Of course it would; it happened in her own home, which should have been a safe and comfortable place, and I wasn’t always around to prevent it.  It was a tough situation, and we were so relieved when they left.

Trina’s wise words were, “with Doves, resist the urge to toughen them up.”  In a way, it re-affirmed my decision to let her stay home for a day.  Besides, Jamie gets a whole lot of natural “toughening up” since she has Sam.  And the fact that Sam is a Peacock, with characteristics opposite the Dove’s, you can imagine the daily dose of “adventure” Jamie gets (Juggling between both their needs is a story for another time. ;)).

The other thing about Jamie (again an accurate read from MindPrint),  is her high EQ or Emotional Quotient.

The four quotients will vary in degree depending on your personal scans.

The four quotients will vary in degree depending on your personal scans.

Essentially, it tells you how you’d spontaneously react in new and unpredictable situations.  Jamie’s only means that she is first emotional before she is logical.  Also, a low IQ score doesn’t mean low intelligence.  Jamie is actually smart in a very creative way (which is why her CQ is her second highest).  AQ and CQ stand for adversity quotient and creative quotient respectively and are how you’d deal with adversity or use creativity.

Jamie and my husband have the same quotient profile; except my husband’s instinctive reaction is an impulsive angry retort, while Jamie cries over everything.  It doesn’t matter how irrational the reason, high EQ-folk will only realize it after they’ve calmed down and they feel the situation is not as “emotionally charged” as it started out to be (Yes, this is very much my husband!).

Because I know this, Jamie and I process every situation and feeling.  And it does help to name them — scared, frustrated, overwhelmed, tired, sad, excited, happy.  I’ve also talked to Jamie’s teacher to take a more gentle approach when disciplining her, and when introducing her to new work.  So these days after giving Jamie feedback, her teacher will sit awhile and build Jamie’s independence through new activities.  It has worked wonders for us.

Thankfully her teachers and coaches are more than happy to — I dare say — bend some rules to help us rebuild her self-esteem and confidence.

Technically, I shouldn't be in class but they allowed me to come in and read the kids a story.

Technically, I shouldn’t be in class but they allowed me to come in and read the kids a story.

For the time-being, her teachers and I agree there would be a physical transfer of Jamie’s hand from mine to theirs, so she knows (literally) she’s in safe hands.  Rather than just dropping her at the door and leaving, I’ve also been allowed to linger outside the classroom until Jamie gives me the thumbs up sign to leave.

I’ve also made a more conscious effort to take Jamie on one-on-one dates and spend time doing things together.

Our most recent fridate!

Our most recent fridate!

When she’s with me, she is happy to try new things, and that might the best way for her to learn and explore in a safe environment.  And I’m teaching Sam to treat Jamie the same way.  Because she is Ate, and she loves her sister, we all have to pitch in and be patient and help.  So far so good, and it seems like we are on the right track.

All these little things may seem so trivial, but they add up.  Miraculously, over the last few days, Jamie seems to have found her old self again.

Happily cutting and mashing bananas for our home made banana bread.

Happily cutting and mashing bananas for our home made banana bread.

Lately, there have been no tears at the door.  She also looks at me and says softly, “see you later mom.”  And at gymnastics, when she sees her coach at the bottom of the steps, she (once again) takes the initiative to let go of my hand.  She still checks from time to time to see if I’m watching but lately, it’s always been with a smile.



And oh my Lord:  What a relief.  The Dove is me cries for joy.

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