Monday, December 20, 2010

My Top of the Class

Every night before I go to sleep, I look at my daughter’s face. And every single time, I marvel at how this amazing being came into my life. While I run my fingers through her hair and trace the delicate features of her angelic face, I couldn’t help but mumble a heartfelt prayer of praise and gratitude for God’s wonderful gift.

When I was pregnant, I remember asking God about how I wish my little girl would turn out to be:

“Dear God, please make her beautiful inside and out.”

The first time I saw Chestene’s smile I knew she’d be a star. Yeah, sure. All parents by default believe that their children are destined to do great things in life. But if you think about it, it’s the faith and confidence that we give them that make them believe that they can achieve their dreams whatever it may be.

True enough, at 2 months old, that very smile landed her the monthly finalist title for Good Housekeeping Magazines’s Baby of the Year. In 2006, by some twist of fate, she was asked to model for Smart Parenting Magazine where she appeared 8 times in their special revamp issue. Another year after, she was selected to model for the National Bookstore 2007 calendar, that put me once again in stage mother heaven!

Smart Parenting Magazine July 2006 and National Bookstore Calendar 2007

God not only made her beautiful on the outside, but more importantly, on the inside as well. She grew up to be sweet and very thoughtful. I guess the massive dose of bear hugs and kisses I shower her with, have turned her into one. =)

Mother's Day 2010
A warm message that will truly melt any mother's heart

Before we say our prayers at night, I always tell her to believe in the power of prayer and how God blesses a generous heart who shares, just like my parents taught me early in life.

 Our traditional Christmas gift giving to the kids in the neighborhood
Christmas gifts we prepared for her classmates this year

“Dear God, please make her healthy, smart and witty.”

After reading many baby books on how to nurture a child’s intelligence starting from the womb, I listened to classical music everyday during my pregnancy. I read and talked to my baby, and I loaded up on the good and healthy stuff plus iron supplements to ensure her proper brain development.

I had always been OC (Obsessive Compulsive) when it comes to my daughter’s nutrition and overall development, so the moment I stopped breastfeeding, I chose a nutritionally dense milk formula plus Nutroplex, the best multivitamin supplement that contains high levels of brain boosting nutrients to make sure she got her daily dose of essential vitamins. I wanted to equip her with quality nutritional products that will help her excel in school and reach her utmost potential.

Chestene started school when she was barely 4 years old. From Nursery she skipped Kindergarten, was accelerated to Preparatory and still managed to reap her own share of medals and awards. I was always there to teach and study with her until I became busy with work and delegated the task to a tutor when she turned Grade 3 last year. She had difficulty in Math and I didn’t have the energy at the time to teach her.

My little achiever

In spite of her teachers’ praises and compliments on how she was doing well in school in terms of class standing, her grades in Math kept her from making it to the top of her class. This year, I decided to let go of the tutor and made time to teach her once again. I usually come home late from work, but I make it a point to go through her daily lessons and make handwritten reviewers for her to answer during exam week. I even wake up earlier than usual to prepare her 'baon', make it interesting enough for her to stay inspired in school, and make sure she doesn't forget her daily dose of Nutroplex to give her day a good head start.

Taking her daily dose Nutroplex ~ the brain multivitamins
Colorful bento boxes that never fail to cheer her up in school.

Surprisingly, not only did she get the highest grade in Math, but she also made it to the top 10 of her class for 2 consecutive grading periods! In a class of 44 students and with her, being one of the youngest among them, it’s quite a feat to be on top, but she worked hard and reached it!

School gives her a lot of pressure, but I’m glad she is born with a great sense of humor. =)

One of our wacky point and shoot self photographs

“Dear God, please bless her with many talents and give her the confidence to pursue them.”

Parents usually influence a child’s interests until he is ready to pursue his own. I love to sing, draw, write and read books so it came naturally for me to teach these things to my eager youngster.

~Miss Performer~

I let Chestene listen to classical music even after she was born. So much, that when she was barely 2 years old, she was already humming Canon in D by Pachelbel in perfect tune. She later memorized her first full song You by Karen Carpenter.

I created her own channel in YouTube where I upload some of her singing videos every now and then.

Hannah Montana wannabe at 7 years old

She also joined contests, learned ballet, performed at parties and took summer programs just for the fun of it. I've always cheered and supported her because I know it will help boost her confidence, if she gets used to performing in front of a large crowd.

SM Little Star
Ballet recital ~ Grade 1
Party performance
Best Kiddie Crew 2009
~Little Picasso~

I also encouraged her to draw by giving her a lot of sketch pads and art materials to experiment on. We draw and paint together. Her early artworks resembled the style of Pablo Picasso, that's why I called her my Little Picasso. She made her first painting on canvas last year.

Chestene's early artworks
Her first painting on canvas
~The Bookworm~

It was hard to think of a better alternative to television when she was growing up, so I taught her to read. Instead of buying her the latest gaming gadgets, I invested in books instead. Whenever given the choice, she always chooses to read books over watching TV. It’s just hard to pull her away to do other stuff though, when she’s got her nose buried into one.

Her books have practically taken over our room. They are everywhere - bookshelves, plastic crates, drawers, and even under her pillows!
This crate holds books and magazines that she already finished reading.
Book heaven!

We are fond of spending most of our time in bookstores where she can finish 3 novels in one sitting.

~Young Blogger~

An expanded vocabulary helped her to write well for her age, so I taught her to blog. I wanted her to have an online journal where she can express herself freely. She shares about her fun adventures or just anything under the sun. Her blog DeCaFFeiNaTed ( has a Page Rank of 2 and comes out usually in the first page of Google images when you search for ‘Love and Berry’, her favorite game.

DeCaFFeiNaTeD ~
Number 1 in Google image search for 'Love and Berry'

~Budding Entrepreneur~

My Blings and Things is Chestene’s own brand name for her accessories. Together, we enjoy making trinkets as a hobby, but she later thought of selling them to her classmates. Her first batch of designs got sold out in school. But now, we plan to sell them online instead, so her earnings could add to her growing cash fund. She is saving to buy a pink car for her 18th birthday. Yes, a pink car! Her sheer determination continues to inspire me to believe that anything is indeed possible, if you put your heart to it.

Chestene's designs for My Blings and Things 

“Dear God, please give her a bright future ahead.”

My daughter dreams of becoming a scientist-artist-fashion designer-model-theater actress-singer-writer-chef someday. (Whew!) It’s too much, but I know given the opportunity coupled with patience and hard work, it can be done. Besides, it was me who taught her that whatever she can dream she can achieve. I just don’t know how, but what I do know is that with God’s grace, I will always be here to support her dreams every step of the way.

Her self-drawn dream laboratory design
Sharing her dreams to her fellow tweeners in Total Girl Magazine (September 2010)
Acting for a comics story we made last year

“Dear God, please help me become the best mother that You will me to be.”

Parenting takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices when you want to give the very best for your child. It’s even harder for single parents like me who have to do almost everything singlehandedly. But with God’s goodness, the continuous support of my family and friends, I am able to raise Chestene the best way I can. It took faith, patience, perseverance, knowledge and a multitude of nurturing to rear her physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually into a well-rounded individual who is not only smart, healthy, beautiful and talented, but one who is also thoughtful, generous and kind.

For me she will always be on top of her class regardless of number, because I know that no matter where she goes, whatever she dreams, she will always have within her what it takes to exceed the best version of herself that she could possibly be.