food as a cultural experience for preschoolers

Welcome to the April 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Pastimes This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about family pastimes. Our preschooler tried a bite of vindaloo. He’s trying to like it, but his face blanched and he tried to wipe the heat off his tongue with a napkin. I slid a glass of mango lassi his way. Eating out remains a treat we indulge in, and we regularly bring the kids. It entails lots of advance notice and build-up (reward system). Our older one loves the novelty of a restaurant meal so we use that. Our agreement? He can join us on these special nights out if he will … [Read more...]

Silent courage of mothers in rural Cambodia

Welcome to the March 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Everyday Superheroes This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the remarkable people and characteristics that have touched their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants... Nothing against workdays at the office. There’s something to be said for air-conditioned comfort when the blistering sun and uneven roads await activities that donors have pledged tax dollars for. Besides, all the preparatory, follow-up and administrative work is necessary. But fieldwork is where the action is - where meaningful … [Read more...]

Maternity package rates at Bumrungrad (Bangkok) and St Luke’s hospital (Manila)

As of this writing, the exchange rate is 30 Baht=US $1. So a normal delivery package at Bumgrungrad is US $1,196, while a C-section birth is US $3100. I was quite impressed with my experience at Samitivej hospital for our first child's birth in 2011. I imagine the facilities in Bumrungrad, which is considered a higher-class (5star) facility, must be better. In comparison, when we had our daughter in March this year in St Luke's Hospital (Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Manila) the quote for a C-section delivery is PHP155,000-185,000 (US $3789-$4512) for 4-5 days' hospitalization including delivery, recovery and nursery room charges, medicines and supplies used in the delivery room, hospitalization expenses (private room) and professional … [Read more...]

Having a baby in Manila vs. Having a baby in Bangkok (for expatriates)

... continued from Part I. Our first child was born in Bangkok’s Samitivej Hospital in January 2011, which I wrote about here. Our second was born in St Luke's Medical Center, Taguig, Manila, in March 2013. Below is our experience in both countries. As I mentioned in an earlier post, airlines restrict travel at 35 weeks 1 day gestation. Living costs have to be calculated from five weeks before the estimated due date, through the birth, and the time it takes to finalize the paperwork to clear you for exiting the country with the baby. Bureaucratic coordination is a tremendous help to medical tourists - particularly for births. Our overall experience: Bangkok's medical tourism industry is exceptionally efficient. Bureaucratic … [Read more...]

Giving birth in Manila vs Giving birth in Bangkok (for expatriates)

As many of you know, most foreigners working in Cambodia and its neighboring countries fly to Bangkok for medical procedures. We chose to have our baby in Bangkok, Thailand, in January 2011, which I wrote about here on resources for foreigners. Due to airline policies we flew to Bangkok at 35 weeks gestation (they don't want women having a baby while on board). This is a substantial amount of time away from work, so a speedy return back after the birth is ideal. Thanks to the extremely efficient medical tourism industry, we were able to leave Thailand with the baby an astonishing 10 days after birth. The official birth certificate, US passport, and exit clearance were all secured very quickly and painlessly. All engagement with government … [Read more...]

Tuk-tuk rides: Look, ma, no seatbelt!

This little monkey is a a terror in the tuk-tuk. Thankfully the tuk tuk driver, Rithy, drives fairly slowly and cautiously, occasionally watching the boy from the rearview mirrors to make sure he hadn't fallen out (which is sadly his only use of these implements that we can determine). But luckily he fell asleep after we let him use the vehicle as a jungle gym for 20 minutes. A sleeping boy makes for a happy Papa! … [Read more...]

the problem with the way we handled attachment parenting

The above image is from the 21 May 2012 issue of TIME magazine. "Are you mom enough?" - That headline just grabs you, doesn't it, questioning your values and your parenting. One thing we didn't anticipate, in all the planning and discussions about attachment parenting, is the difficulties in teaching our son to put himself to sleep, and to soothe himself back to sleep when he twitches awake in the night - without me. For the past 16 months I was perfectly happy to oblige his every request. I'm quite fortunate to work for an employer who's flexible to the needs of new mothers. There's a nursery at the office so you can nurse or pump during the workday, and until the child is a year old s/he and the nanny can be taken on work trips to … [Read more...]

Healthy baby girl, FREE to whoever can feed her

As a mom, it tears at my heart. It was shocking at the same time that I know it meant a better life for the baby. It's commonplace, but I don't often personally see or hear of it. A woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl around 7am, at a health center where we were field-testing some questionnaires. Usually anyone admitted to a facility is accompanied by throngs of family members, who provide the care to the patient that back home would be done by health staff (eg providing meals, making sure medicines are taken, changing the dressings etc). But there was no one with this very young mother. She was thin, ragged, and very weak. She breastfed the baby a bit, on prompting by the staff, but by evening someone noticed that she hadn't eaten … [Read more...]