Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Woolly Rhino

My son had been announcing that he wants to sculpt something and have been asking me to buy him clay while we were in Manila. I kept explaining that the polymer clay I have is not the kind of clay that he needs. I explained this to my husband too, but they joined forces and bought the first grey coloured clay they saw. 

Last Sunday they spent 2 hours forming the woolly Rhino they saw on YouTube, here. If you are wondering if there is such a thing as a woolly rhino, then check this out. I told them them that I think they can’t bake the clay based on the way they were shaping it. But, its like I wasn’t even in the room. Blocked out by the woolly rhino, obviously! They didn't even call me when they baked the woolly rhino. The oven is my appliance, I get called whenever they have to use it! But not this afternoon!

And then, just as darkness fell to declare the night, I saw my dear son coming up to me in a gait and with the silent tears that only the defeated and the disappointed can articulate. He said, “Its a failure!” 
How I wish I was able to get a photo of their work before they popped it into the toaster oven. That’s why they didn't call me! They both thought that if bread can get toasted in the toaster, then for sure, clay will do just fine.  Voila! Meet Woolly Rhino #1. You can still tell where the legs and horn once were, right?
By dinner time father and son were planning a 2nd woolly rhino. We found self drying clay in Morning Light Art Shop and Gallery, just like what the guy in the video used. 
Father and son started slaving away for the extinct woolly rhino. And 2 hours later,
Here is the Woolly Rhino #2. My little boy declared with much joy. " It will dry after 10 plus 2 days. Then we will paint it." 

I will upload the finish project in 2 weeks. Have an energised and inspired Wednesday. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Philippine Flag Cards

Last month we made a Philippine flag card game that my son suggested, here. For academics, this should cover Philippine History, a bit of geography, art, reading, writing skills, and a bit of math.

As for me,  it was a an excellent practice in acceptance and tolerance. I had to suppress my urge to take control of the project and come up with a "look" for the cards. I wanted to type the words and have a uniform look but that meant that I would limit my son's contribution to colouring what I would have drawn. Anyway, it was his idea and he does not seem to mind playing with messy cards. Because I let go and accepted that we were not going to have a finish product that looks store bought, we got to finish making our cards and play our first game less than 2 hours after we started our first drawing.

How does the card game go?
First,  you must read the book Bandilla, here. Each flag has 2 partner cards with a fact: date, name of the flag etc.  If you have played the card game 1, 2, 3 pass then that's it.  Each player gets 3 random cards and each player passes a card to the player on his right. And once you have all 3 partner card you shout flag.

The more you play the more you get to memorise which cards go together. Its wonderful watching the little boy win! And I can't believe how little I know about Philippine History!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We are Back

No post for July as I was hectic as hectic could possibly be. But I am back home and back to regular programming with one child in university and 3 homeschooling! Three weeks in Manila/ Quezon City, living in a condo on the 40th floor and ending each day exhausted, I am surprised that I feel recharged and ready! So the kiddos and I are picking up where we left off.

I like being prepare and its fun to interact with the kids when prepared. Back when I only had 3 babies, I was ready to answer my child who asked, "Mommy who do you love the most?" I explained that mommy's heart is not like a pizza. It can not be divide and so I can not say I love this child more than the other because/ and so she gets the bigger slice. Mommy's heart multiplies and gets bigger with every baby but mommy still has one heart. Like when you mix clay together. Once the clay is marbled you can not really take out the colors they are stuck together forming one big clay ball. And that's how mommy's heart is."

I did prepare for my eldest leaving home and now I think, I over estimated my sorrow!  I know I left my heart walking around in Manila/ Quezon City because my eldest child is there, but I am not broken hearted. I am not sad and in despair. I miss her but my constant prayer for my children has been for them to be where God  needs them to be, not where they want or I think they should be. I am feeling melancholic. It seems like every move I make these last few days brings back some memory. And there's a silence within me that is new to me and I can not explain. I don't feel bad but this territory is new to me. This sense of silence, I didn't see this coming.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Independence Day 2015

So what did we do?

My husband and I spent the whole day 8:00 to 3:30 in Agro getting sun burned while cheering to my son's soccer team, Crocs Davao for the Independence Day Football Festival. 

It was super fun and uncomfortable! If you have been to Agro then you know that it has zero amenities! And since we are amateur soccer parents we did not even bring a chair! Now I know better!

As part of our Independence Day celebration we started reading this book I got in Oak and Acorn in Abreeza for P179.00. And it prompted the following questions:
1. Does the house in Tondo Manila, 314 Azcarraga  Street (now Claro M. Recto Street) still there?
2. Who and why was Andress Bonifacio killed? And why in that location?
3. What is the Spanish American War all about? We watch this short video here
Here is a much longer video of the Spanish American War and the USS Maine, but my son lost interest after 15 minutes. 
4. Do the Katipuneros want to win the war or die for the country? - form my little boy.

We also got to watch this documentary about Manuel L. Quezon in CNN Philippines. There goes Independence Day 2015 for our family. The Filipino dinner did not happen and my son is still not giving up on the card game that I suggested we make :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Sweetest Take on History

Gearing up for our June 12 Independence Day Celebration, my little boy and I watched a few videos about Philippine Independence. Here 

I told him the story of how when Gregorio H. Del Pilar the young, tragic and romantic hero of Tirad Pass was killed in battle, the Americans found a locket with a lock of hair in it. I asked my little boy, "Whose hair do you think it was?"
And with lightning speed and conviction, he blurted out, "It's his mommy's hair!" Ha! Ha! Ha! Imagine the look on the older sister's face! 

I don't have an exact plan yet on how we will spend Philippine Independence Day. I am thinking of coming up with a Philippine Flag card game. I still have to make the rules for it. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

End of Summer 2015

It's the end of summer and for us that means all our summer classes/activities have dwindled to weekend activities. 
No more 3x a week soccer for my little boy.

I think we should continue our Summer Subject: Filipino and this time we shall trudge along with this book that I got in Fully Booked, Abreeza. 
I am thinking of ways for our family to celebrate Independence Day on June 12. I know we have a flag somewhere in the house from my Lolo. Independence Day was significant to me when I was a kid because it meant no classes or delayed school opening but I never really zeroed in on what we are actually celebrating. Independence from Spain? From the US? From our own prejudice and limitations? From school :D :D :D ?

Well, here is a site with facts I will be sharing with my children. I am thinking of activities for our family:
Flag making painting/ sewing
Filipino themed Lunch or Dinner
An essay from my teenagers

Goodbye summer and hello June :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Please Measure the Cobb's Angle

I believe radiologists here in Davao City should measure the Cobb's Angle before they remark that a patient has scoliosis! I posted this in my Facebook timeline yesterday: 

"In about 6 weeks, Ashley and I will be posting stuff about Scoliosis Awareness. As we have done in the last 2 years. Due to Amber's recent chest X-ray there is a need to shout out that a curve less than 10 degrees is NOT scoliosis!!! It should be noted that a curved to whatever direction has been observed. But a curve in the spine less than 10 degrees is not scoliosis!!!"

I also added this on my Facebook post: "Also if a curve has been observed ask for the Cobb's Angle. I think this makes sense since how will the orthopedic doctor know if the radiologist won't measure it? And how else can the radiologist know if he should just note it or call it scoliosis. "The term “Cobb Angle” is used worldwide to measure and quantify the magnitude of spinal deformities, especially in the case of scoliosis. The Cobb angle measurement is the “gold standard” of scoliosis evaluation endorsed by Scoliosis Research Society. It is used as the standard measurement to quantify and track the progression of scoliosis."
I got that here.

Here is another reason why you should ask for the Cobb's Angle. "It is important to realise that the accuracy of measurement of this angle is only to +/- 5 degrees and so a curve measured at 40 degrees could be between 35 and 45 degrees. "

When my second daughter was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopatic Scoliosis, her Cobb's angle was 20 degrees as measured by our doctor, not the radiologist. We were asked to get another x-ray after 6 months in which her Cobb's Angle increased to 28 degrees. We went for a second opinion, and then a third and we were told, over and over again to wait and see since there is a margin of error of 2 to 5 degrees depending on who is measuring the angle. And each doctor made their own measurements with varying degrees. It seemed to me like the first x-ray was being dismissed on account of it not being measured by the radiologist! Again, the doctors were relaxed and kept saying that scoliosis is very common. Luckily, for my daughter because fo all the confusion and my doubts, I had taken her for a 2nd x-ray 4 weeks after her first one was taken and on that x-ray, the radiologist this time, measured the Cobb's angle 21 degrees. So, based on that measurement, her curve increase by 7 degrees in a span of 5 months!

As a parent, it is so unsettling to see and then be told by doctors that your child's spine is curving sideways and there seems to be nowhere to go. Compound that with an incomplete x-ray reading.

Why is it that here in Davao, the threshold for scoliosis seems to be any curve in the spine while for the rest of the world its at the very least 10 degrees before they say that a person has scoliosis? The two resident doctors I consulted for my eldest daughter's chest x-ray (one face to face on the day the x-ray was taken and the other yesterday afternoon on the phone) explained to me that based on their guidelines (both did not state where these guidelines came from) 8 to 10 degrees = mild scoliosis. Logic tells me that A LOT people who will get their x-rays at the said hospital will then be told that they have mild scoliosis. 

See here: 
From Australia: "Although scoliosis by definition (a curve of 10° or more) "
From the UK: "Curves measuring up to 11° are considered normal." and check out the chart here
From Europe: "Only 10% of adolescents with curves greater than 10ยบ require active treatment. Of these, 85–90% can be treated with non-surgical methods."" Again, below 10 degrees, then it is not called scoliosis.
From the US:  "The Scoliosis Research Society defines scoliosis as a curvature of the spine measuring 10 degrees or greater on x-ray."
From Asia:  Mild curve is stated to be at 10 to 20 degrees.

Here is what this radiology site have to say, "The angle may be plotted manually or digitally and scoliosis is defined as a lateral spinal curvature with a Cobb angle of 10° or more."

I am not upset that my eldest daughter was noted to have a curvature in her spine. But does she really have scoliosis? How can the radiologist write scoliosis and miss out writing the Cobb's Angle? Scoliosis can be accidentally discovered during chest X-ray or a patient will need an X-ray to figure out the severity of his or her condition to come up with a treatment plan. So, if the radiologist sees a curve during a chest xray shouldn't he or she measure it?

We had 5 doctors appointments in 2011 here in Davao City for our second daughter's scoliosis and none of the doctors used a scoliometer. We relied on x-ray readings/results! So it is very important that x-rays be complete. Patients rely on them! Both resident doctors I spoke to yesterday pointed to me that they write simply what they see. So why stop short at measuring what they see!??

What was upsetting about the x-ray experience with my eldest daughter last Monday,  are:
1. I had to ask for what should have been there and it was not comfortable.
 2. Instead of coming home with an X-ray result in hand we had to go back for it the next day!
3. The man I spoke wearing a radiology department uniform of the hospital acted like he couldn't care less. Thus making me feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, I am taking his actions as a reflection of the standard and training that they have in the said hospital and the culture, at least of their radiology department.

Surprised that my eldest has scoliosis, I explained to this man that I wanted to speak to the radiologist and why I wanted the Cobb's Angle measured. He replied that I have to go see the orthopaedic doctor for that, not a radiologist. He also added that it is not a standard in that hospital to put the Cobb's angle because it is a chest x-ray and not a scoliosis screening!

I was not asking for a plan of action. I was simply stating that the revelations the radiologist made is lacking! The audacity to dismiss a valid request as if he had an orthopaedic doctor to recommend right there and then is astounding! Of course he does not know that four years ago, my husband and I along with our second daughter had to wait for 6 hours in that same hospital just to see this top orthopaedic doctor for one appointment. I called for that appointment four days before we went and even called to confirm the appointment a day before going! And in the end, we had to settle with another doctor after 6 hours of waiting! Now I understand the long line at the orthopaedic doctor's clinic.

How did all this end? We have a CD copy of my eldest daughter's chest xray and a long size bond paper that say stuff you would read in a normal chest X-ray concluding with,

Addendum created May/19/15:  "A 9 degree scoliosis is noted T8 -T12 with convexity to the right."

If we were living else where this would not be called scoliosis. But here in Davao City, Philippines it is called scoliosis! Why? What is the basis for this?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Summer Subject: Filipino

As I said in a previous post, I am going to give Filipino one more try. For this summer, Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to Filipino subject/ activities.
We are using this book. Considering that the learners ages are 6, 11, 14, 17 and 36 its better to start at the lowest and get it right than start with a more challenging materials and give up!
To increase our vocabulary we are playing Speedeebee. We read the questions in English (as written on the card) and give the answer in Filipino. It's annoyingly fun!
I have a question, is Filibustero counted as a Filipino word?
We played Shatong this morning! The plan was for me to teach them the game and give instructions in Filipino.And to speak in Filipino/ Tagalog as much as we can while playing. I told the kids that shades is a must! I don't want anyone getting hit with the stick in the eye. I was thinking of helmet too, but it seems over kill. 
Digging our base.
When I played Shatong as a kid, we did not have safety measures. We played with gusto and sincerity and with the full knowledge and acceptance that if somebody gets hurt, you will get a good scolding from the adults.  I did not realize how much give and take between teammates and opponents Shatong requires. We spoke Filipino/Tagalog about about 15 % of the time. I say that's good enough for starters.
We have 6 more Tuesdays and 7 more Thursdays to go before summer ends. Wish us luck and kindly share tips, tricks, sites and books that could help us out! Thanks in advance :)
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