The Criteria for Looking an Elementary School | What I look for in a School

Now that October has come, the rush to find a perfect elementary school finally pushed me to the wall. If I recall, this happened once when Rama was just about two years old and I was searching for the best preschool (playgroup) in town and then suddenly decided to skip the whole bits and bops of school hunt drama and picked TKAI (“Taman Kreativitas Anak Indonesia”) as our first and only option.

It was then and until now the best decision we have ever taken. The school has since given Rama the opportunity and experience which none other school would have, well at least not many school here provides. He has now able to play with lots of friends, do lots of creativity projects, perform in the school marching band as the drummer, role playing or stage acting in the annual school play and once performed in a thousand viewers for the Morinaga event, not only that…he is also able to perform in the flying fox activity which I myself would never ever in a million years throw myself into one *don’t tell him*.

However, with his coming 6th birthday we would already have chosen his primary school (elementary school). And this is something harder to do than before. Because seeing that lots of school nowadays have high *too high if I may say* expectation for the kids, I don’t see myself willingly putting my baby boy to that kind of school. I don’t want him to be burden with the lectures, activities, and studies and forgetting the fact that he is just a kid. My ideal would be him going to school from 8 AM to 12 PM. But that’s not the reality.

The reality is, that school here starts from 7 AM to approximately 2 PM, maybe even more. And…not to mention the bulk of homework that they need to do afterwards.

So with that said, I need to compress the selection of primary school and consider these items before finally saying “yes” to the school registration.

  • Location – One of the most important thing to consider while choosing the right school. Because as we all probably know, Jakarta in the morning is not so friendly. Heavy traffic in almost everywhere, anywhere. I don’t fancy the idea having my kiddo wakes up very early in the morning, getting rushed and skip breakfast just to get to school on time. So for me, location is important. I’d prefer somewhere that could be reached in a maximum 30 mins drive from home.
  • Environment – What does the school ambiance look like? Do they have enough facilities, e.g. canteen, hygienic or at least acceptable toilet, do they maintain the school ground properly? What are the kids who studied there? Does the kids in that school are all or majority a bully? Those kind of things become my concern as well. Because like it or not, here in Indonesia even the private school can sometime neglect the proper maintenance and so the environment and ambiance of the school prop is not adequate.
  • School background and reputation – By reputation I don’t mean some five star quality of school. But I am seeking a school that can understand and communicate with the kids. Lately I notice that some school tends to pushed their pupils to be the best in their class. Feeding them with lots of homework and multitasking them when they are actually just started the primary school. Please…stop treating them like a senior officer in some random office. They are just pure and innocent kid who deserve to smile and chill at school. That is why, before selecting any school I tried my best to understand their background and reputation. This can be done through web forum searching, word of mouth from other mums, and or direct visit and observation.
  • Methodology of learning – How many teachers are there in the class room? How many kids are there in the class room? Does the teacher give the kids too many homework? Well I know that most of my questions here might not have the right answer that I want, but I can always hope. At least be gentle on the homework. I highly believe that homework is not a thing that should become a burden, instead it should be omit and just focus working on the stuff while at school.
  • Fees – Very very important to consider. Because me and hubby prefer private school to public school, the consequence is that we will have to pay higher tuition fee and monthly fee. Therefore, researching the requested fee for each school candidate is a must. Though we have kept some money for the tuition, it would feel ease to know how much exactly are you going to have to pay next year for entrance and the monthly fee asked.
  • Last but not least, what is more important of it all is to consider what my kiddo and I feel about the whole school. Because with all the criteria and consideration made above, if the child does not feel enjoy then everything will become a waste.

I hope what I share here could be useful and let’s start this school hunt with a positive attitude and do it best. I’m heading to bed now, until next week.

ASI (Breastmilk) Booster

Having a newborn, now almost two months old baby, I planned to have an exclusive breastfeed for at least a year. But with my past history of lack breast milk supply, I thought the idea of giving just breast milk is nearly impossible. Until I met the lovely nurse at my local clinic where I gave birth. Nurse Darti, that’s what she is called. Our incidental meet up was due to Naomi’s sudden request to have blue light treatment for a couple of days at the clinic. She was posted at the baby’s room where Naomi is put for treatment.

Since the other treatment for Naomi’s yellow-ish skin is breast milk, the nurse and the doctor asked me to provide expressed milk every one hour which I thought quite impossible with my previous history of combining formula milk with a bit of express milk. But then the nurse told me about a specific plant which locally known as “daun bangun-bangun” in Sumatera. She said it’s a Bataknese secret ingredients in producing lots and lots of breast milk.

I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about the plant, because I’m just a person who trust the doctor more than traditional remedy. However, being the in-law of a Bataknese, my father in-law asked around and found out that there’s a seller in Jakarta where he then purchase and send it to me. He told me he got it at Pasar Senen in the Pasar Inpres section in Bataknese district.

He told me to cook it with meat as “gulai”, so my mum quickly do her magic and cooked me the “bangun-bangun gulai”. I eat this meal twice a day on lunch time and dinner. At first it taste weird, with texture I never experience before. However, believe me when I say that my breast milk supply has increased ever since. Naomi almost two months old now, and I have not yet turn my self to the formula nor have I even tried to think about using it.

It is such a good result that I ended up telling people, family, relatives and friends who are currently nursing so they can have the same assurance as I am. And also because of that, I did a little bit of research on the web to know more about the health and benefit of this plant.

With a latin name Oleos Amboinicus (then) now known as Plectranthus Amboinicus, is a large succulent herb, fleshy and highly aromatic, much branch, possessing short sort erect hair with distinctive smell (Wikipedia). I personally think that it looks a lot like mint plant. Based on several articles around the web, this plant has so many benefit including: anti tumor and cancer. But there is also the benefit of increasing breast milk for nursing mum.

Since it contains high iron, fiber, magnesium and potassium, this plant when consumed will combined its nutrient with the breast milk resulting a healthy weight baby. In terms of helping or boosting the breast milk supply, this plant contains polyphenol, flavonoid, prolactin, and oxytocin which boost the nursing hormone.

So who said that we can’t exclusively breastfeed our baby? Turns out what seems to be impossible five years ago now is possible. And I hope this information will be able to help other nursing mum to never give up. Oh, my top tips: get enough rest (sleep), drink plenty of water, eat frequently or at least sufficiently and try to maintain the skin to skin (direct breastfeed) to the baby.

Until next time!

My Top 5 Items to Bring to the Hospital

With just about 48 days after my delivery to our second child, Naomi, yes we have deliver the baby, I wanted to share my top five items that you should bring to the hospital during labor.

To start of, as any other pregnant mum I started to prepare my hospital bag at the latest on my 36 weeks of pregnancy. With a c-section coming up in just two more weeks after, I suddenly become a nesting mum who obsessively likes to clean the house and prep everything knowing that after the operation I won’t be able to do any cleaning whatsoever during the first two weeks (even more for me).

Since this is my second time, it wasn’t that hard to figure out what I need and don’t need to bring with me. But even so, I found myself bringing too many things in the end. So if you’re like me, here’s a tip on my top five items to bring with you.

  1. Breast pump – nowadays most hospital provide the in-room service for all newly birth. This means you can stay in the room with your baby which give easy access for breastfeeding. However, if you’re like me, I have to experience my baby sleep separately for a couple of day because she needs the blue light treatment. Since I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my baby, the nurse and the midwife suggested me to pump my breast milk every one hour. Imagine that, right after three days of delivery I have to start juggling with the time and fill up my baby’s tum tum which turned out having a boys appetite. Thankfully with the supply-demand situation that was going on, plus the natural remedy that I took I was able to provide the milk to her on time and on target. But in such condition, it would be more comfortable to bring and use your own breast pump. My birth clinic did offered to lend us their breast pump, but I was just not feeling it. The breast pump that I use is the Unimom Alegra automatic breast pump. This brand is new to my ear, but trust me when I say that it feels wonder to you breast. It has a silicone padding that makes it squishy and yet comfy when it starts to pull out the breast milk, and you get a manual head for a change in case you decided to switch on to manual. When I purchase this product, I also received ten breast milk storage bag for free. All that and only around IDR900k-ish with no additional charge on delivery service.
  2. Postpartum pads – though the clinic where I deliver provide us with this pad, I recommend other mum to bring their own from home. Based on my first delivery, the clinic/hospital usually charge you pretty high for such pad. While honestly speaking, I don’t necessary need a postpartum pads just the regular menstruation pad is all I need. It might be differ from one woman to another, but since I don’t have that much blood during regular menstruation the same thing happened on my post pregnancy.
  3. Spare pillow and blanket – a spare pillow is needed when you just undergone a c-section. Because my clinic didn’t provide us with extra pillow, I find it very useful to bring additional one from home. The pillow can be used to help you adjust the sleeping position (think of it as a bolster). Cause seriously, after the operation they wanted you to move and sleep either to your left side or right side to let the gas come out of the system. If I don’t have the pillow, it will be quite hard for me to keep in that position. Mostly cause I have a big figure. The spare blanket however we bring for my husband and son to use at night. Yes, I did have them to stay with me in the hospital just because I don’t like to be alone with the baby in a hospital. Probably too much watching horror movie during my younger time which now polluted the brain and turned me into a scaredy cat. With that said, I just despise the idea of staying in a hospital (red. any kind of hospital) and not having a companion next to my bed. Having my son and hubby during the three day post labor really help boosting my mood and knowing that everyone is within my reach is an ease at heart.
  4. Dry shampoo – let’s face it, who wants to get a shower right after a c-section and wash their fluffy hair? Well not me of course. Especially knowing that the doctor told you not to let the area with the bandages to be wet. So, I brought myself a mini dry shampoo. Before when I was with Rama’s birth, we don’t have dry shampoo in Indonesia, at least not that I know. So I ended up not having to wash the hair for a few days and looking droopy with an oily greasy hair. But now thanks to the trusty batiste dry shampoo, my hair still look fab for the whole week (I know…it is kinda gross). I do put it up on a high bun though to make it fresh just a bit.
  5. Breast pad and good nursing bra – I cannot suggest more than to bring yourself some breast pad and good  nursing bra. Because regular bra just won’t make it. And no breast pad equals ruined clothes (due to breast milk residue). Me however, since the clinic provided kimono on a daily basis (twice a day), I find myself not wearing a bra is more convenient. But quite overwhelming especially when the breast milk started to let down from both breast at the same time. Thus, I cannot highly recommend you to bring a good nursing bra with breast pad to avoid my situation.

So those are my top five items to bring to the hospital during labor. Let me know in the comment below if you have other essential that you think is most important.