29 February 2012

Play and swim time

I took Sophia to the community centre last Sunday morning. They set up the gym with kids toys, charge a drop-in fee of $2.00, and require the parents supervise their kids. Sophia had a blast! She was a little overwhelmed at first, clinging to my leg and not wanting to try any of the toys. But after about five minutes of hugs from me, she let me sit her down on one of the ride-on toys. Then there was no stopping her! I think riding the wagon was her favourite. She had a smile of her face as I pulled the wagon around the gym. She also enjoyed climbing in and out of the wagon once I was done pulling her around.

On Tuesday morning, I took Sophia to a nearby pool. We bought a neoprene wetsuit for her because she would get cold really fast when we take her to the pool (even though the water is heated) or the water park. This was the first time she would be wearing the wetsuit and I was a little worried that she wouldn’t like wearing it. She protested a little when I was putting it on her but complied when I told her that she can’t go into the pool if she didn’t wear the suit. She looked soooo cute wearing it! I wish I took a photo but taking photos are not permitted at the pool. Anyway, the kids area at the pool was awesome and Sophia had such a great time. It was shallow enough that Sophia could walk around on her own. I handed her a floating board to hold on to while she walked around. I also held her while she floated on her tummy. She kicked her feet and tried to blow bubbles, although, she ended up drinking the water instead of blowing bubbles. Later on, she let me float her on her back. She was giggling the entire time. We were in the pool for almost an hour before her lips turned blue. The suit did its job! Without the suit, I think Sophia would have been shivering within ten minutes. On the way home, Sophia kept saying “pool” over and over again. I’m excited to bring her back. We both had a wonderful time!

ps. Thanks to Auntie Jenny for coming to the pool and playing with Sophia!

22 February 2012


Sophia has started to use the iPad regularly. I have purchased some Little Einsteins and Dora videos, and have installed a few apps for her. She has started to walk around while carrying the iPad and I know it is just a matter of time before she drops it. I have been looking for an iPad case for a while and found one specifically designed with a toddler in mind. It is called the iGuy from Speck Products. It’s made of foam, has handles, and can stand up on its own. So far, it has worked out well. It is light and offers enough protection, in case Sophia drops or tips over the iPad.

There are a couple of things that I am not thrilled about. I expected the shoulders to be stiffer to keep the arms in place. When holding the iGuy on just one arm, I worry about the arm straightening out (and it does straighten out) and slipping from Sophia’s grip. Also, when Sophia sets down the iPad on the floor, because the leg area is thicker than the top area, the screen flips upside-down. I noticed Sophia spending a few minutes turning the iPad round and round until the icons on the screen were oriented correctly. I was also impressed that she figured all this out by herself!

But generally, I am happy with the purchase. It makes the iPad bulkier to carry around but I accept that in exchange for the protection it offers against toddler abuse.
My brother in the iGuy.

Sophia and my brother on FaceTime.

20 February 2012

Lizza's quick visit

Lizza came to Vancouver for a quick visit this past weekend. We got to see her for just a little over a day and we did our best to pack in as much time together as we could. Lizza and I have been close friends since the seventh grade. When her family emigrated from Manila to the US in the 80’s, we would write letters (no email back then!) to update each other on what was going on with our lives. With the advent of email and more recently, Facebook, it has become much easier to stay connected. Also, as we progressed in our careers and made more money, we were able to go on trips to see each other in person. Even quick visits like this one does wonders in nurturing a friendship.

All day Saturday, I kept telling Sophia that her “ninang” was coming to visit. Ninang means godmother in Tagalog. When Lizza arrived that evening, Sophia welcomed her by saying “nina”.

Here are some photos from our weekend with Lizza.
Sophia and her Ninang Lizza

Dimsum with the Van Dops


17 February 2012


Sophia’s favourite word - “no!”.  This is usually accompanied by an emphatic shaking of her head or a hand firmly pushing what I am offering away.  I am instructing her to say “yes” when she actually wants something or agrees with what I am saying but she has, so far, chosen to ignore this instruction.

The battle of wills continue...

16 February 2012

Interesting information

My brother and mom got back to Vancouver yesterday, after a month-long stay in Manila. We met up for dinner and they shared these findings with me.

In the Philippines, there is an organization called National Statistical Office (NSO) and they oversee and manage information such as births, deaths, marriages, etc. My mom and brother went there to obtain a copy of my parents’ marriage certificate, since the original one was in Vancouver. The NSO person helping them pulled up information about my parents, and this is when my mom and brother found out that my dad had a second name (it is Sancho) and that his birthday was on a different day than the one we’ve been celebrating our whole lives! I can understand my dad dropping his second name; lots of people do this. And who could blame him, with a name like Sancho? But to celebrate his birthday on June 5 instead of June 9, which was the date stated on his birth certificate, is really bizarre! Maybe my grandmother got the dates mixed up? Maybe my dad just liked 5 much better than 9? I’ll never know the reason.

It was a really strange experience for my mom, after being married to my dad for over 50 years, finding out this information about him. But true to form, she thought it was funny and had a good laugh about it.

The other bit of interesting information was the date recognized by the government for my parents’ wedding was the date they had a civil ceremony, which was two weeks prior to their church wedding. My mom didn’t even remember the date of the civil ceremony. My parents always celebrated their anniversary on the date they had the wedding at the church.