The Blame Game

It has been a tough two weeks for me and my little trooper. Asthma found its way to creep into his healthy body and tackled him down again. Taking care of a sick child is not only physically daunting but also emotionally draining. Every time Timmy gets sick I end up doing the blame game, pointing all fingers at myself for my irresponsible parenting and defective genes.

Timmy got his asthma from me and being an asthmatic kid I know how tough it is to have those attacks. I remember spending birthdays in the hospital and getting confined almost every year. My mom took care of me like I’m a fragile bird with a broken wing. Now I’m doing the same except that it really breaks me up inside knowing that he inherited it from me. I find myself apologizing to him every time he’s sick. He doesn’t hear it but God does.

12252010631-001 When we found out he had Neonatal Lupus when he was born I cried buckets. I bawled in front of my husband and parents. I remember my dad comforting me saying that it’s good that we already know how to manage the disease because I’ve had it for years (17 to be exact) and we can take care of Timmy better. As good as it sounded back then to me it was just unbearable. Living with Lupus is not easy and I didn’t want my son to experience it.

By God’s grace, my rheumatologist (i.e. Lupus doctor) said that most Neonatal Lupus cases are transient. They go away once the child develops his own antibodies. She told me not to subject him to further tests. She added that Lupus rarely occurs in men so it could be that my little boy didn’t have it. She advised us to just watch out for symptoms, which I am very well-versed at, but other than that I had nothing to worry about.

10302011093_2 And then his asthma manifested at 10 months old. I jokingly told my husband that our son keeps getting all the bad stuff from me. But inside I was blaming myself again for his health issues and every time he gets an asthma attack the blame game happens all over again. I put on a strong face and double up on my nurturing to restore my son to good health but inside it’s a battle.

His recent attack two weeks ago was no different. Usually, Timmy gets better after a week of medication but this time he didn’t. He was given antibiotics but his cough and colds are still there (yes, up to now). We have lessened his activities so he can rest. I have placed work on hold just so I could attend to him. But his recovery has been slow. His pedia said that it will take 10 days for the antibiotics to fully kick in but she said that he sounded better and he’s on his way to recovery. He was given maintenance meds for 30 days to help speed up his healing.

Phototastic-6_23_2015_b251d9d1-12e5-4acc-9343-e660229fe571My heart broke each time Timmy said, “I feel sick.” I feel a stab inside my chest every time I hear his wheezing, hacking cough. This is one part of parenting that I’d gladly skip. It’s just too much to bear to see your child sick. Good thing, my son remained upbeat and active through it all. He would even encourage me saying, “Mommy, Jesus will heal me.” Or he would say, “Mommy, I feel better now because Jesus healed me.” To which my husband and I would reply happily, “Yes, He did!”

I take comfort in the fact that Jesus will heal me, too. That every time I feel broken and guilty about my son’s health condition He can restore and bring healing to my soul.


I have been a recipient of God’s grace all my life. He has healed me time and time again. He forgives me for all the blame game I’ve done and He continuously gives me a new slate to start over once more. His track record of faithfulness in my life is impeccable. He has given me every reason to trust Him. He even “crowns me with love and tender mercies.” My all-knowing God is not too hard on me and I have no reason not to do the same.

So today, as I watch Timmy sleeping peacefully I choose to forgive myself. I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus, the One who saved me, forgave me, and restored me. I choose not to blame myself or anyone for my child’s health condition. I choose to believe in God’s power and ability to bring healing to my son. I choose to rest in His loving arms, knowing that He loves my son more than I could ever love him.

WP_20150616_20_16_14_Pro My son is His. His health is His. Whatever future health problems we’ll encounter I know that we will still remain His. And in that I take the most comfort knowing that He’ll be with us every single time. My prayer is that the next time any of my boys get sick that I’ll be able to stand firm and shun the lies of the enemy. That I will not play the blame game anymore but instead put all stakes on my God who is sovereign and true. I know He will give me the grace to do it and the strength to overcome it. He always comes through for me, always. 🙂

9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

So I encourage every mom out there who feels guilty every time their child gets sick, Jesus holds you by the hand. He doesn’t accuse us. He extends His grace to us every single day. He knows what we’re going through. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). We can count on Him to help us. All we need to do is believe and trust that He can. 🙂


Super-sized Letters of the Week Activities!

As promised, I’ll be sharing more letter of the week activities! So today I’ll be featuring three letters (S, F, and G)! 🙂 For the record, we don’t always get to do our LW stuff weekly because sometimes there are a lot of things going on in our schedule. But that’s what we love about homeschooling; when life happens you can adjust, use the situation as a teachable moment for your child, and go back to learning through play as the dust settles. 🙂

Here are the fun things we did with letters S, F, and G. 🙂

S is for STAR


We read Sandra Boynton books! 🙂 We really love her! Watch out for my author review on her and other children’s books soon! We also read other go-to faves such as “Mr. Strong” (we’re crazy about Mr. Men books!) and “Sam and the Firefly.” 🙂 For our Bible character, we had Samson and we learned about how we should be responsible with the gifts and strengths God has given us. 🙂


Arts and Crafts

We made star and snail crafts! I spelled star and asked Timmy to fill it up with star stickers. 🙂 For the next one, I just drew a snail and asked him to fill it with different kinds of S letters. S is for stickers so that was the medium we used for arts and crafts! Lately, Timmy is the one benefiting from my scrapbook stuff (those begin with S, too! Haha!). 🙂




Timmy had a grouping exercise. I asked him to encircle the stars that are in groups of three. We did this for counting purposes and pattern recognition. 🙂 I just tried if he would get the idea and he did! 🙂



We had his usual fill-in-the-letters exercise. If you’ll notice, he writes S like a thunder. Timmy was having difficulty writing S so I told him it’s like a zigzag going down or a thunder! It worked! And now after much practice, his S is as curvy as a normal S should be. 🙂 Sometimes we just need to let them start the easy way and when they get their confidence, we teach them how to improve their writing. 🙂 We also had a letter finding game! I asked him to color all the letter S he could find. Timmy really enjoyed this one. 🙂



F is for FISH

F was another FUN week for us. 🙂 We also had a FIELD trip that weekend which basically involved a lot of playing for my little man. 🙂 So here’s how it went:


Our Bible story for the week was “Jesus feeds the 5,000” (with FIVE loaves of bread and two FISH). 🙂 We also read some classic Dr. Seuss books that Timmy loves namely “The Foot Book” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” That “Fishing” book right there was Timmy’s new found favorite that time. 🙂



We made flower and fish crafts. For the flower, I simply cut the flower garden setting and let Timmy do the rest. I used foam and colored paper. 🙂 We’re not yet into cutting and I don’t want to pressure him to learn because he has been frustrated in the few times he tried it. We’ll get there soon enough. 🙂 For the fish craft, we used this mosaic art box I bought some time ago and asked Timmy to decorate the fish I drew. Those tiny foam sticker squares are pretty challenging to use which was great for his fine motor practice! 🙂 He took care of drawing the ocean, bubbles, and seaweeds. 🙂




Although this doesn’t start with anything F, I just opted for a pattern game to see if Timmy would get the concept. Much to my surprise, he did! 🙂 It has become one of our go-to math activities since then. 🙂



F is for FINGER PAINT! Timmy loves finger painting and he likes the feel of the paint on his hands. 🙂 It keeps him preoccupied for a long time, too. Good thing I blogged about this because I just remembered that we need to replenish our finger paint stocks! 🙂


Field Trip

We went to Active Fun in SM Megamall that weekend! Hubby attended a comic book convention that day while Timmy and I spent hours (we got the unlimited pass) playing at Active Fun! While my little trooper had unlimited energy, I didn’t. Haha! I was so tired that day but it was the good kind of tired. I’d gladly do it again. 🙂


G is for GREEN

This particular week is one of my personal favorites because we got to explore God’s love. The highlight of our memory verse was GOD IS LOVE and it was a wonderful opportunity to share with Timmy how God showed his love for us by sending Jesus to save us from our sins. We also learned about God’s love through his creation and more! 🙂


We read different Bible stories and watched videos showing God’s love. 🙂 We also got our dose of Mr. and Mrs. Green books, which I highly recommend! Timmy likes it a lot! We read the real “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and Mo Willems’ parody “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs.” Haha!


Arts and Crafts

We did a Giraffe craft made of foam shapes! We really loved the outcome! 🙂 Of course, putting GOOGLY eyes was a must for Timmy. 🙂 We also made a GOLD city with gold roads and houses/mansions as we talked about heaven that week. 🙂 I cut pieces of gold foil, placed double-sided tape, and Timmy did the rest. 🙂 Removing the double-sided tape was a good fine motor practice for him!




Instead of simply asking Timmy to write letter G, I told him to DRAW it in different colors! This encouraged him to practice writing G repeatedly. Yay! 🙂 We also did his usual complete-the-word writing game. 🙂




For math, we used GREEN popsicle sticks and green plastic cups. For some reason we have them at home! 🙂 I placed his wooden numbers inside and asked him to place the correct number of sticks inside the cups. 🙂 Timmy loved this activity! It also helped him count slowly and carefully. 🙂



Timmy later on thought that it would be a good idea to form letters using the GREEN popsicle sticks! He even formed my name (awwww)! It’s amazing how kids can come up with their own activities based on simple household items. 🙂


Hope you enjoyed going through our letter of the week activities! Feel free to share some ideas, too. 🙂 Next time I’ll share with you our activities for letters U, R, and more! 🙂

Best Books for Babies

Hey, guys! I’m at The Learning Basket today with an article about Best Books for Babies! 🙂 Hope you can check it out! You know very well that I’m a reading advocate and in this blog I shared the kinds of books that your little ones can enjoy. Start the reading habit early! Read to them 20 minutes a day (can be spread out; I recommend reading longer!) and introduce your babes to the wonderful world of books. 🙂 I started reading to Timmy on his first month and now he’s a voracious toddler reader. 🙂 We allowed him to do anything with his books so he grew up not being intimidated by it. Here are some snapshots of my little guy reading and exploring his books. 🙂

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E is for Elephant

We had so much fun having E as our letter of the week! We did some pretty awesome artwork and read our favorite stories! 🙂 I think this was one of Timmy’s most productive weeks. There are weeks when we don’t really do much per letter because I want to devote more time to other activities. He also loved our Bible character and was inspired by her bravery. 🙂 Here’s how our week went:


It’s Elephant and Piggie week for us! 🙂 We’re huge fans of Mo Willems and we were so thrilled to have his books highlighted that week! We also have his other storybooks and one of them is “Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct,” which also made it to our reading list. 🙂


Bible Character

We read about Queen Esther. 🙂 I found three videos that told Esther’s story in different ways. 🙂 Our memory verse was in one of those videos although I couldn’t remember which one. Haha!


Timmy painted some eggs! 🙂 I hardboiled three eggs and let Timmy paint on them. 🙂 Some of those eggs were not fully hardboiled and it was intentional because I want Timmy to hold it with the right amount of pressure while painting. I told him not to drop it otherwise it will crack. It’s also my way of letting him practice his fine motor skills. 🙂 He really loved this activity!



We once again practiced writing E while doing his favorite activity. We’re currently working on his small e. It’s amazing how one’s handwriting evolves through time. 🙂 In a span of weeks, I already saw the difference in the way he writes. What we would do is revisit the old letters we’ve done throughout the week by doing random exercises. From there I would see which letters we need to work on more. 🙂



In keeping with our Elephant and Piggie books, we made an elephant craft! Timmy loved it especially the long trunk. 🙂 I got this idea from Pinterest, the ultimate source for homeschool inspiration. 🙂 Timmy makes good elephant sound, too! Haha!



We did a puzzle/pattern matching exercise. I thought of veering away from numerical exercises that week and explored two-piece puzzles with him. Timmy was joking most of the time so this activity took longer than usual. Haha! He would intentionally put the wrong pieces and laugh! Good thing we were still able to finish it. 🙂


Watch out for our super-sized letter of the week! I will blog about letters S and F. 🙂 Feel free to share your letter of the week ideas, too! 🙂

J is for Jellyfish

We’re officially done doing letter of the week spelling Timmy’s full name! 🙂 Yay! We finished Timothy Josef Guerrero last February. Woohoo! With that is also 3 months’ worth of blogging backlog of our letter of the week activities. Haha! Thanks to the formation of our Facebook group, Homeschooling the Early Years, I got so pumped up to get back on track! 🙂 Here are some of the activities we did for letter J. 🙂


We didn’t have that much J books, which was great, because we got to focus on stories about Jesus! That’s aside from our Bible character of the week, Joseph. 🙂 We also read our phonics story (big format picture boards) about Jimmy Jaguar. Jake and the Neverland Pirates is one of Timmy’s favorite shows so we played Pirate Mommy and Pirate Timmy that week while reading Jake’s books! 🙂 Ahoy, mateys!



Fresh from our yarn activities the previous week, we decided to use it to decorate Joseph’s colorful coat! 🙂 You will also see here our memory verse for the week. 🙂 I invented a tune for Genesis 50:20 and Timmy enjoyed singing it because it ended with a tickle. Haha! It’s hard to explain but I’m sure you get the idea. 🙂



We had our usual writing practice. This was taken months ago and Timmy had already improved a lot writing big J and small j. 🙂 I try to squeeze in more writing practice randomly while he’s playing or when he’s in the mood. I try to veer away from letting him sit down and just write, write, write. I would call him and say for example, “Time to show the animals how to write big J!” He would stop whatever he’s doing, get his pens, and start doing it. Usually, he ends up asking for more which makes mommy happy! Haha! 🙂 Forcing your kid to write will not work so try to be more creative when making them do it. 🙂



We also did a jellyfish artwork. 🙂 Timmy enjoys putting googly eyes so we had to put them on our jellyfish. 🙂 I drew a big J and cut some pieces of printed folder and let Timmy do the rest. 🙂 Oh and yes, he loves putting smileys, too!


Watch out for our letter E activities! 🙂 Bye for now! 🙂

How Homeschooling Helped My Shy Son Socialize

Parents with shy kids know how frustrating it can be when you’re child refuses to participate in group activities. No amount of encouragement and assurances can make them do it. They would hide behind your back and on a bad day they would even cry when pushed too much.

As early as a few months old, Timmy already showed that he was an introvert. He didn’t want to be carried by other people except family members. Between 1 to 2 years old, it would take him 2 to 4 hours to warm up to guests. By the time he’s ready to play with them, the party’s over or they’re about to leave. I couldn’t help but think that he was just waiting for them to go away and he couldn’t contain his excitement that’s why he played with them for a few minutes to make their visit worthwhile. Haha!

My son is shy and he got this from his dad. 🙂 Most of our friends don’t know that my husband Omar is an introvert. Maybe because he’s a teacher and he really speaks eloquently in front of a crowd. But if he had it his way, he would rather stay at home.


On the other hand, Timmy’s momma has no idea what it means to be shy. I’ve always been a people person so I had to adjust to my son’s personality. Unlike his dad, who has learned the ropes of socialization already, Timmy is just beginning and it’s not easy especially for someone who’s still exploring and discovering things for himself.

For most people I’ve already perfected the “bad parent” equation:

Only child + shy personality = homeschool

It may look that way on the surface but as I see my son progress in his socialization skills God affirmed that our decision to homeschool him was the right one. God removed my fears by showing me first-hand the improvements in the way Timmy interacts with different people as he grows older. 🙂

Confidence begins at home

A child seeks approval from his parents. We are the big people they look up to, run to, and extend their arms to. Our nod is the incentive they want most. Whenever Timmy says or does something really funny and we laugh at it, he keeps doing it again and again. He gains satisfaction that what he does solicits a positive response from us. Every time he receives compliments from us, he beams with pride. 🙂

He loves showing his artwork, writings, block buildings—anything he creates because he wants to hear what we have to say. Are we going to approve? Criticize? When he gets an enthusiastic cheer from me, whether it’s a homeschooling exercise or the basketball shots he makes, he’s encouraged to do more. 🙂


When he talks, I look him straight in the eye and listen intently. If he can’t find the words to say, I would encourage him to go on. I would fill in the words sometimes but mostly I would let him figure out a way to express himself and help him process it better after he’s able to finish his sentence. Timmy knows that mommy and daddy are ready to listen so he can take his time when telling his story. 🙂

At the heart of socialization is confidence. It takes confidence to talk to someone, express one’s thoughts freely, and interact with other people. We first noticed Timmy initiating conversations with old people. He loves grandmas and grandpas in the malls or restaurants. Maybe because he talks to adults most of the time. He’s more comfortable talking to strangers than having people we know talk to him. In short, he prefers initiating. 🙂

Even in his homeschool coop, I noticed that he has significantly changed in the way he interacts with his friends. Warm up became shorter and shorter as he got to know them longer. He enjoys playing with them even if most of the bigger kids like to carry him. Haha! They look at Timmy as the baby in the group. Whenever we get home from our coop, he would say that he misses his friends. 🙂


Timmy is not rejected or put down at home. It’s the safest and most secure environment for him emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and socially. This gave him the confidence to socialize with other people. He is encouraged to speak his mind. I ask him questions and allow him to interrupt our storytelling if he has ideas or some random thoughts. When he makes mistakes in our homeschool exercises, I would tell him that it’s okay and ask him if he wants to do it again, to which he will agree. 🙂

Sometimes he intentionally commits mistakes because he likes my “oh no” face. Haha! So I have to tell him that we can fool around later but he needs to focus on his activity first. I would challenge him to show his toy animals or something else that he can finish it. Haha! He would cooperate not out of fear but out of obedience, respect, and I guess fun. 🙂


My shy boy’s shining moments

Once we were eating at this restaurant that had a play area. Timmy always looks forward to going there. It was a weekend I think and there were a lot of kids. He approached everyone and said, “Hey, guys!” I was like, “Did he just say that?” Haha! He then started talking to the boys there. He has the habit of telling other kids the object he’s holding like, “This is a dragon. This is a porcupine. This is a killer whale.” It didn’t bother him that some ignored him. I mean that’s rejection right there. He just kept talking until someone responded!

I think he’s a teacher in the making. 🙂 He likes to share his books to other kids and sharing something informative. At first, he would put the book on the floor near the kid because he’s shy. Now, he would give the book directly and tell the title like, “This is Barry the Fish with Fingers.” Most of the time, kids are not interested in the books he offers. And it breaks my heart! Not because he looks rejected but because a lot of kids don’t like books anymore. 😦 But when Timmy shows toys, he gets their attention.


One time we were at a bookstore and Timmy approached this little girl sitting on the floor. He offered his book again. She didn’t look interested so he got another one and showed it to her. I think the girl was only two years old. He read the title and some of the words inside. The little girl just stayed there but looked at other books. Timmy didn’t leave! He stayed there and kept trying to engage the girl in a conversation. Haha! 🙂

He actually does this every time we’re in a bookstore. He would approach kids, give them books, and talk to their parents! Sometimes he would sit beside the parent reading to the kid, listen, and answer the mom’s questions. Seeing these moments affirmed our decision to homeschool Timmy. 🙂 We took our time developing his confidence at home, observing what kinds of environments overwhelm him, managing his emotions, and helping him adapt.

It’s a process

As Timmy gets older, I’m also learning how to deal with his shyness better. Omar has also been very helpful giving me an inside look in the world of an introvert. 🙂 This socialization progress didn’t happen overnight. Being with him all the time allowed me to see what situations are threatening to him and allowed me to help him cope under those circumstances. Let me share with you some of them:

Situation 1:

Timmy doesn’t like it when he’s asked to perform on the spot. Sometimes he just runs away, although he does this playfully. I told him that instead of running or hiding to just tell me or the person asking him, “I’m shy” or “I feel conscious.” I told him that they will understand. He doesn’t like it when people are staring at him. This has helped him especially when friends or relatives ask him perform his antics. Given enough time, Timmy shows off his dance moves and shooting prowess but not instantly. 🙂


Situation 2:

Timmy doesn’t like being surprised. The anticipation scares him. I have a friend who has a big personality and she tends to get really loud and shout whenever she sees Timmy. He gets shocked every time he sees her. As a result, he doesn’t like being with her. He has this impression “na gugulatin sya” (that he will be surprised) when she’s around. He would play with her eventually but it would take a long time. We slept at her house for two nights and he only felt comfortable on the day we were about to leave. I told my friend not to surprise Timmy and when she took my advice, the next time they saw each other they became instant best friends! Homeschooling allows me to not only help my son but also other people around him by orienting them on how to deal with shy kids like him. 🙂

Situation 3:

Timmy doesn’t like loud birthday parties (e.g. Jollibee or McDonald’s parties). The noise is just too much for him. One time I told him that we’ll be there to just watch them. No one will force him to join the games. He took comfort in the fact that we’re just there to observe. Being an introvert, new environments can be overwhelming to him. So we would stay at the back and I would let him go and roam around when he’s ready. He would leave my side eventually and interact with other kids but at his own pace. 🙂


I’ve learned NOT TO FORCE my son because socialization doesn’t really work that way. There’s a way to approach people and interact with them without feeling awkward or coming on too strong. Some kids are just not built for the stage. My son is one of them. And it’s definitely okay. 🙂 God beautifully and wonderfully created him that way. Maybe he’ll be the director or scriptwriter but not the actor. Other children are born to perform. I was the type who could sing and dance whenever my preschool teacher would ask me to. Meanwhile, my husband wailed his way through preschool not wanting my mother-in-law to leave.

We didn’t want to subject Timmy to that. Now, our shy boy is getting more and more independent and confident. He skipped all the stress of being thrown immediately to a new environment and being left there to survive alone. I’m sure some kids will thrive there but not my son. I would rather build his confidence at home and let him go at his own pace rather than rush him to “socialization maturity” and be traumatized in the process. He’ll get there anyway and we see it right now in the way he interacts with other people regardless of their age. 🙂


Yes, he may be an only child and a shy one at that. But he is our child and we know him more than anyone. Homeschooling didn’t shelter him from the world. It prepared him in a way that best fits his spiritual, emotional, mental, and social progress. He’s still an introvert but he’s learning socialization in a way that’s easier and more enjoyable for him. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂 He even has random spurts of performing on the spot when asked to! He’s still finding his way with people and we’ll happily take our time. 🙂

Socialization was the homeschooling giant I secretly feared but I held on to God’s promise in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” And that meant that He will also take care of his people skills. All He asks of me is not to fear nor be discouraged. He’ll give my son the ability to slay that giant. 🙂 God has already gone before me in this homeschooling journey. He is with me, covering all the bases. I just need to stay close to Him every step of the way so that I don’t lose sight of what truly matters—building my son’s character and creating a loving, God-fearing, and accepting home where he can thrive inside and out. 🙂


P.S. My husband cried while reading this blog because I was able to articulate what a shy child needs. Those were the very things he needed, too. He added that he was grateful that we’re able to do it right with Timmy this time. 🙂